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

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

“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 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

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

How the Prophet Lived with His Wives: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In the midst of legal rulings related to marriage in surah al-Nisaa’, Allah commands the believing to treat their wives well by saying:

وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

… and live with them honorably … [4:19]

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir wrote a brief but beautiful commentary on this phrase in his tafsir:

وَقَوْلُهُ : ( وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ) أَيْ : طَيِّبُوا أَقْوَالَكُمْ لَهُنَّ ، وَحَسِّنُوا أَفْعَالَكُمْ وَهَيْئَاتِكُمْ بِحَسَبِ قُدْرَتِكُمْ ، كَمَا تُحِبُّ ذَلِكَ مِنْهَا ، فَافْعَلْ أَنْتَ بِهَا مِثْلَهُ ، كَمَا قَالَ تَعَالَى : ( وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ) [ الْبَقَرَةِ : 228 ] وَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ” خَيْرُكُمْ خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِهِ ، وَأَنَا خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِي ” وَكَانَ مِنْ أَخْلَاقِهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَّهُ جَمِيلُ الْعِشْرَةِ دَائِمُ الْبِشْرِ ، يُدَاعِبُ أَهْلَهُ ، وَيَتَلَطَّفُ بِهِمْ ، ويُوسِعُهُمْ نَفَقَتَهُ ، وَيُضَاحِكُ نِسَاءَهُ ، حَتَّى إِنَّهُ كَانَ يُسَابِقُ عَائِشَةَ أُمَّ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَتَوَدَّدُ إِلَيْهَا بِذَلِكَ . قَالَتْ : سَابَقَنِي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَسَبَقْتُهُ ، وَذَلِكَ قَبْلَ أَنْ أَحْمِلَ اللَّحْمَ ، ثُمَّ سَابَقْتُهُ بَعْدَ مَا حَمَلْتُ اللَّحْمَ فَسَبَقَنِي ، فَقَالَ : ” هَذِهِ بِتِلْكَ ” وَيَجْتَمِعُ نِسَاؤُهُ كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ فِي بَيْتِ الَّتِي يَبِيتُ عِنْدَهَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، فَيَأْكُلُ مَعَهُنَّ الْعَشَاءَ فِي بَعْضِ الْأَحْيَانِ ، ثُمَّ تَنْصَرِفُ كُلُّ وَاحِدَةٍ إِلَى مَنْزِلِهَا . وَكَانَ يَنَامُ مَعَ الْمَرْأَةِ مِنْ نِسَائِهِ فِي شِعَارٍ وَاحِدٍ ، يَضَعُ عَنْ كَتِفَيْهِ الرِّدَاءَ وَيَنَامُ بِالْإِزَارِ ، وَكَانَ إِذَا صَلَّى الْعِشَاءَ يَدْخُلُ مَنْزِلَهُ يَسْمُرُ مَعَ أَهْلِهِ قَلِيلًا قَبْلَ أَنْ يَنَامَ ، يُؤَانِسُهُمْ بِذَلِكَ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَقَدْ قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى : ( لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ ) [ الْأَحْزَابِ : 21 ] . وَأَحْكَامُ عِشْرَةِ النِّسَاءِ وَمَا يَتَعَلَّقُ بِتَفْصِيلِ ذَلِكَ مَوْضِعُهُ كِتَابُ ” الْأَحْكَامِ ” ، وَلِلَّهِ الْحَمْدُ . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

… and live with them honorably …

that is: beautify your speech, actions and manners towards them to the best of your ability. Just as you would like for them to do that towards you, then do that towards them. This is as Allah said:

وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

… and women have rights over their husbands similar to the rights their husbands have over them … [2:228]

and Allah’s Messenger said: Continue reading

Allah Promises You Forgiveness and Bounty: Tafsir al-Tabari & ibn Kathir

Allah says in surah al-Baqarah:

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

The Shaytaan promise you poverty and commands you to commit immorality, but Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty. And Allah is Generous and All-Knowing [2:268]

The famous mufassir Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari opened his tafsir of this ayah by writing:

قال أبو جعفر: يعني بذلك تعالى ذكره: ” الشيطان يعدكم “، أيها الناس- بالصدقة وأدائكم الزكاة الواجبة عليكم في أموالكم (85) – أن تفتقروا=” ويأمركم بالفحشاء “، يعني: ويأمركم بمعاصي الله عز وجل، وترك طاعته= (86) ” والله يعدكم مغفرة منه “ (87) يعني أن الله عز وجل يعدكم أيها المؤمنون، أن يستر عليكم فحشاءكم، بصفحه لكم عن عقوبتكم عليها، فيغفر لكم ذنوبكم بالصدقة التي تتصدقون=” وفضلا “ يعني: ويعدكم أن يخلف عليكم من صدقتكم، فيتفضل عليكم من عطاياه ويسبغ عليكم في أرزاقكم.ـ

I, Abu Ja’far, say: What Allah means here is:

الشَّيْطَانُ يَعِدُكُمُ

the shaytaan promises you …

O mankind, that giving charity and paying the zakah that is required of your wealth will make you poor

وَيَأْمُرُكُم بِالْفَحْشَاءِ

… and commands you to commit immorality

i.e. he commands you to disobey Allah and to stop obeying Him. Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 215-220: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the twenty-second installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 215-220. After the previous section encouraging the believers to submit to Allah completely, this passage presents guidance on a number of legal questions. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ ۖ قُلْ مَا أَنفَقْتُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ فَلِلْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ ۗ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ

They ask you what they should spend. Say: Whatever you spend of good is for parents, relatives, orphans, the poor, and the traveler. And whatever good you do, Allah is certainly Knowing of it. [2:215]

يسلك أصحابك- أيها النبي- أي شيء ينفقون من أصناف أموالهم تقربًا إلى الله تعالى، وعلى مَن ينفقون؟ قل لهم: أنفقوا أيَّ خير يتيسر لكم من أصناف المال الحلال الطيب، واجعلوا نفقتكم للوالدين، والأقربين من أهلكم وذوي أرحامكم، واليتامى، والفقراء، والمسافر المحتاج الذي بَعُدَ عن أهله وماله. وما تفعلوا من خير فإن الله تعالى به عليم.ـ

215. They ask you – O Prophet – what type of their wealth should they spend when seeking closeness to Allah, and who should they spend on. Tell them: spend whatever goodness is easy for you from the various types of permissible, wholesome wealth, and spend on parents, close relatives such as your immediate family and close relations, orphans, the poor, and needy travelers who are far-removed from their family and wealth. And whatever good you do, Allah is certainly knowledgeable of it.

كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

Fighting has been prescribed for you even though it is disliked by you. Perhaps you would dislike something while it is good for you. And perhaps you would love something while it is bad for you. And Allah knows while you do not know. [2:216] Continue reading

Major Nifaq and Minor Nifaq in the Qur’an: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In his explanation of the beginning of surah al-Baqarah, the great expert in hadith, history and tafsir al-haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir transitioned from the ayaat describing the disbelievers to the ayaat describing the munafiqoon by writing:

لما تقدم وصف المؤمنين في صدر السورة بأربع آيات ، ثم عرف حال الكافرين بهاتين الآيتين ، شرع تعالى في بيان حال المنافقين الذين يظهرون الإيمان ويبطنون الكفر ، ولما كان أمرهم يشتبه على كثير من الناس أطنب في ذكرهم بصفات متعددة ، كل منها نفاق ، كما أنزل سورة ” براءة ” فيهم ، وسورة ” المنافقين ” فيهم ، وذكرهم في سورة ” النور ” وغيرها من السور ، تعريفا لأحوالهم لتجتنب ، ويجتنب من تلبس بها. ـ

After beginning with four ayaat describing the believers at the opening of this surah [2:2-5] and then acquainting us with the disbelievers’ condition in these two ayaat [2:6-7], Allah then moves on to explaining the situation of the munafiqoon – those who outwardly display eemaan while inwardly harboring disbelief [2:8-20]. Because of the difficulty that many people have in identifying their condition, Allah goes into detail by mentioning a number of their characteristics, all of which are nifaq. He also sent down surah al-Baraa’ah [09] and surah al-Munafiqoon [63] regarding them, as well as mentioning them in surah al-Nur [24] and elsewhere in order to acquaint us with their ways so that we could avoid their qualities and those who are characterized by them.

النفاق : هو إظهار الخير وإسرار الشر ، وهو أنواع : اعتقادي ، وهو الذي يخلد صاحبه في النار ، وعملي وهو من أكبر الذنوب ، كما سيأتي تفصيله في موضعه ، إن شاء الله تعالى ، وهذا كما قال ابن جريج : المنافق يخالف قوله فعله ، وسره علانيته ، ومدخله مخرجه ، ومشهده مغيبه . ـ

al-Nifaq is: outwardly displaying good while secretly harboring evil. And there are different varieties of nifaq:

there is Nifaq of Creed, which is the type which causes its perpetrator to spend eternity in the Hellfire,

and there is Nifaq of Deed which is one of the gravest sins.

And we shall discuss this in detail in the appropriate place, inshaAllaah.

All of this is just as ibn Jurayj said, “The munafiq‘s words and actions are at odds, his secrets and public face are at odds, his entering and exiting are at odds, and his public life and private life are at odds.” Continue reading

Sabab al-Nuzool Study: “And Do Not Wish for …”

What follows is an excerpt from the book al-Muharrar fee Asbaab Nuzool al-Qur’an by Dr. Khalid al-Muzayni, an academic text dealing with the circumstances behind the revelation of certain ayaat:

وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۚ لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبُوا ۖ وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبْنَ ۚ وَاسْأَلُوا اللَّـهَ مِن فَضْلِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا

And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you to excel others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask Allah of His bounty. Surely, Allah is Ever All-Knower of everything. [4:32]

سبب النزول : أخرج الامام أحمد والترمذي عَنْ أُمِّ سَلَمَةَ، أَنَّهَا قَالَتْ يا رسول الله يَغْزُو الرِّجَالُ وَلاَ يَغْزُو النِّسَاءُ وَلَنَا نِصْفُ الْمِيرَاثِ ‏.‏ فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ : وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ

The Circumstance of Revelation: Imam Ahmad and al-Tirmidhi both report from Umm Salamah that she said, “O Messenger of Allah, the men go to battle while the women do not go to battle, and we received half of the inheritance.” So Allah revealed:

وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ

And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you to excel others.

دراسة السبب : هكذ جاء في سبب نزول هذه الاية وقد أورد جمهور المفسرين هذا الحديث عند التفسير الاية الكريمة منهم الطبري والبغوي وابن العربي وابن عطية والقرطبي وابن كثير وابن عاشور. ـ

Study of This Report: This is the sabab al-nuzool – circumstance of revelation – that has been mentioned for this ayah, and the majority of the mufassiroon have mentioned this hadeeth in their tafsir of this ayah, including al-Tabari, al-Baghawi, ibn al-‘Arabi, ibn ‘Atiyyah, al-Qurtubi, ibn Kathir, and ibn ‘Aashoor.

وقد تبين بدراسة السند ضعيف الحديث إلى أم سلمة – وأن الصواب فيه أنه من مراسيل مجاهد ولأجل شهرته ذكره المفسرون قال الطبري : ( وذكر أن ذلك نـزل في نساءٍ تمنين منازلَ الرجال، وأن يكون لهم ما لهم، فنهى الله عباده عن الأماني الباطلة، وأمرهم أن يسألوه من فضله، إذ كانت الأمانيّ تورِث أهلها الحسد والبغي بغير الحق. ) اهـ

Upon examining this report, it becomes clear that its chain of narration connecting it back to Umm Salamah is weak, and that the correct grading is that it is a disconnected narration going back only to Mujahid, but it was still mentioned by the mufassiroon due to how well-known it is. Continue reading