Reciting Surah al-Mulk: Sheikh bin Baaz

The following question was posed to sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baaz:

السؤال: هل أقرأ سورة تبارك قبل النوم كل ليلة، وهل ينجي الله بها من فعل ذلك من عذاب القبر؟ ـ

Question: Should I recite surah Tabaarak [i.e. surah al-Mulk] every night before sleeping? And is is true that through such an action Allah saves whoever does that from the punishment of the grave?

الجواب: سورة تبارك لها شأن عظيم، وإذا قرأها فقد جاء فيها حديث يدل على فضلها وأنها تشهد لصاحبها يوم القيامة، لكن إنما تنفعه قراءتها وقراءة القرآن إذا عمل بذلك، أما إذا قرأها ولم يعمل فلا تنفعه؛ لقوله ﷺ: القرآن حجة لك أو عليك حجة لك إن عملت به وحجة عليك إذا لم يعمل به، فإذا قرأ القرآن أو قرأ سورة الكهف أو تبارك وهو مضيع لأمر الله ومرتكب لمعاصي الله فهو على خطر عظيم، فلا يكون القرآن حجة له بل يكون حجة عليه فيما أضاع. ـ

Response:Surah Tabaarak has tremendous merit, as does reciting it. There is a hadith which shows its virtue, which is that, on the Day of Recompense, it will bear witness for the one who recited it.

However, reciting surah Tabaarak or reciting the Qur’an will only be of benefit if one acts according to it. As for the one who recites it but does not act accordingly, then it will not be of benefit to him. Continue reading

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An Overview of Surah al-Dhariyat (51): Ibn Taymiyah

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

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. [5:56]

Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah commented on this ayah in one of his many written works by saying:

إن سياق الآية يقتضي أن هذا ذم وتوبيخ لمن لم يعبد الله منهم لأن الله خلقه لشيء فلم يفعل ما خلق له ولهذا عقبها بقوله ; { ما أريد منهم من رزق وما أريد أن يطعمون } ـ

The context of this ayah necessitates that it is a statement of dispraise and rebuke towards those men and Jinn who do not worship Allah. For Allah created them for one thing but they do not do what they were created for. This is why Allah immediately follows up this ayah by saying:

مَا أُرِيدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَن يُطْعِمُونِ

I do not want any provision from them, nor do I want them to feed Me. [51:57]

فإثبات العبادة ونفي هذا يبين أنه خلقهم للعبادة ولم يرد منهم ما يريده السادة من عبيدهم من الإعانة لهم بالرزق والإطعام ـ

When placed beside this negation, the affirmation of Allah’s sole right to be worshiped makes it clear that He created them to worship Him and that He does not desire what a ruler might desire of his slaves – i.e. their aid in gaining provision and food.

ولهذا قال بعد ذلك : { فإن للذين ظلموا ذنوبا } أي نصيبا { مثل ذنوب أصحابهم } أي المتقدمين من الكفار . أي نصيبا من العذاب ـ

And this is why Allah said after that: Continue reading

“Allah commanded me to recite to you”: Sharh al-Nawawi

It is reported in both al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Qatadah that Anas ibn Malik said:

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ لأُبَىٍّ ‏”‏ إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَمَرَنِي أَنْ أَقْرَأَ عَلَيْكَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ آللَّهُ سَمَّانِي لَكَ قَالَ ‏”‏ اللَّهُ سَمَّاكَ لِي ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَجَعَلَ أُبَىٌّ يَبْكِي ‏.‏

The Prophet said to Ubay, “Allah has commanded me to recite to you.” Ubay said, “Did Allah mention me by name to you?” The Prophet replied, “Allah mentioned you by name to me.” Anas said: That caused Ubay to cry.

[Muslim #799]

And in the narration of al-Bukhari, there is an addition to the end of the hadith from one of the subnarrators:

قَالَ قَتَادَةُ فَأُنْبِئْتُ أَنَّهُ قَرَأَ عَلَيْهِ ‏{‏لَمْ يَكُنِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ‏}

Qatadah said: I was told that the Prophet recited surah al-Bayyinah (97) to him.

[al-Bukhari #4960]

In his commentary on Saheeh Muslim, Imam Abu Zakariyyah Yahya al-Nawawi mentioned the following commentary on this hadith:

وفي الحديث فوائد كثيرة . منها : استحباب قراءة القرآن على الحذاق فيه وأهل العلم به والفضل ، وإن كان القارئ أفضل من المقروء عليه ، ومنها : المنقبة الشريفة لأبي بقراءة النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – عليه ، ولا يعلم أحد من الناس شاركه في هذا ، ومنها : منقبة أخرى له بذكر الله تعالى له ، ونصه عليه في هذه المنزلة الرفيعة ، ومنها : البكاء للسرور والفرح مما يبشر الإنسان به ويعطاه من معالي الأمور . ـ

There are a number of benefits to be found in this hadith.

One benefit is the encouragement to recite the Qur’an to someone who is skilled in it, a person of knowledge and virtue. That is the case even if the one reciting is more virtuous than the one to whom he is reciting. Continue reading

A Discussion of the People of Jannah: Tafsir al-Qurtubi & Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-Tur, Allah describes the situation of the believers in Jannah by saying:

وَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ * قَالُوا إِنَّا كُنَّا قَبْلُ فِي أَهْلِنَا مُشْفِقِينَ * فَمَنَّ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْنَا وَوَقَانَا عَذَابَ السَّمُومِ * إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبْلُ نَدْعُوهُ ۖ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْبَرُّ الرَّحِيمُ

And they will approach one another, inquiring of each other. * They will say, “Indeed, we were previously among our people, fearful. * So Allah conferred favor upon us and protected us from the punishment of al-samoom. * Indeed, we used to supplicate Him before. Indeed, it is He who is al-Barr, al-Raheem.” [52:25-28]

Commenting on this in his book of tafsir, Imam al-Qurtubi wrote:

قوله تعالى : وأقبل بعضهم على بعض يتساءلون قال ابن عباس : إذا بعثوا من قبورهم سأل بعضهم بعضا . وقيل : في الجنة يتساءلون أي يتذاكرون ما كانوا فيه في الدنيا من التعب والخوف من العاقبة ، ويحمدون الله تعالى على زوال الخوف عنهم . وقيل : يقول بعضهم لبعض بم صرت في هذه المنزلة الرفيعة ؟ قالوا إنا كنا قبل في أهلنا مشفقين أي قال كل مسئول منهم لسائله : إنا كنا قبل أي في الدنيا خائفين وجلين من عذاب الله . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ

And they will approach one another, inquiring of each other

ibn ‘Abbaas said: when they are raised from their graves they will ask one another.

But others explained it to mean that they will ask one another in Jannah, meaning they will discuss the hard work and fear of the ultimate outcomes that they had during the worldly life and they will praise Allah for removing that fear from them.

Still others said: They will say to one another, “How did you get to this elevated station?” They will say, Continue reading

Hasten to the Remembrance of Allah: Adhwaa’ al-Bayaan

Allah addresses the believers in surah al-Jumu’ah by commanding:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

O you who have eemaan, when the call for prayer on the day of al-Jumu’ah is called, then hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave off business. That is better for you, if you knew [62:9]

Many scholars of tafsir have addressed the command to “hasten” to the prayer, as there are clear hadith narrations that prohibit rushing to the prayer. After the death of the great mufassir sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee, his long-time student sheikh ‘Atiyyah Saalim took on the task of completing the former’s tafsir, Adhwaa’ al-Bayaan, in which he addressed this issue by writing:

قوله تعالى : فاسعوا إلى ذكر الله . قرأ الجمهور : ( فاسعوا ) ، وقرأها عمر : ( فامضوا ) ، روى ابن جرير – رحمه الله – أنه قيل لعمر رضي الله عنه : إن أبيا يقرؤها ( فاسعوا ) ، قال : أما إنه أقرؤنا وأعلمنا بالمنسوخ ، وإنما هي ( فامضوا ) . وروي أيضا عن سالم أنه قال : ما سمعت عمر قط يقرؤها إلا فامضوا . ـ

Allah’s statement:

فَاسْعَوْا إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ

… then hasten to the remembrance of Allah [62:9]

the majority of the reciters recite it as:

فَاسْعَوْا

then hasten

while ‘Umar recited it as: Continue reading

Zakah al-Fitr in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Baghawi

In the midst of surah al-‘Aalaa, Allah informs us:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّىٰ * وَذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّىٰ

He has certainly succeeded – he who tazakkaa * and mentions the name of his Lord and prays [87:14-15]

The word tazakkaa refers to purification, either purification of one’s self (such as in the related term tazkiyyah al-nafs) or purification of one’s wealth (such as in the related term zakah). In his commentary on these ayaat, the famous mufassir Abu Muhammad al-Husayn al-Baghawi wrote:

ـ ( قد أفلح من تزكى ) تطهر من الشرك وقال : لا إله إلا الله . هذا قول عطاء وعكرمة ، ورواية الوالبي وسعيد بن جبير عن ابن عباس وقال الحسن : من كان عمله زاكيا . ـ

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّىٰ

He has certainly succeeded – he who tazakkaa

who purifies himself from al-shirk and says laa ilaaha illallaah – there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. This was the explanation of ‘Ataa’ and ‘Ikrimah, as well as being relayed from ibn ‘Abbaas by way of al-Waalibi and Sa’eed ibn Jubayr.

al-Hasan al-Basri explained it by saying, “Whoever’s actions are pure.”

وقال آخرون : هو صدقة الفطر ، روي عن أبي سعيد الخدري في قوله : ” قد أفلح من تزكى ” قال : أعطى صدقة الفطر . ـ

Meanwhile others say that this is referring to the zakah al-fitr. It is relayed from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri regarding this ayah that he explained it by saying, “[He has certainly succeeded – he who] gives the zakah al-fitr.” Continue reading

Better than One Thousand Months: Tafsir al-Baghawi

In surah al-Qadr, Allah describes Laylah al-Qadr by saying:

لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ

Laylah al-Qadr is better than one thousand months [97:3]

Imam al-Baghawi wrote the following in his commentary on this ayah:

قوله – عز وجل – : ( ليلة القدر خير من ألف شهر ) قال عطاء عن ابن عباس : ذكر لرسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – رجل من بني إسرائيل حمل السلاح على عاتقه في سبيل الله ألف شهر ، فعجب رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – لذلك وتمنى ذلك لأمته ، فقال : يا رب جعلت أمتي أقصر الأمم أعمارا وأقلها أعمالا ؟ فأعطاه الله ليلة القدر ، فقال : ( ليلة القدر خير من ألف شهر ) التي حمل فيها الإسرائيلي السلاح في سبيل الله ، لك ولأمتك إلى يوم القيامة . [ ص: 491 ] . ـ

Relaying from ibn ‘Abbaas, ‘Ataa’ said: The Messenger of Allah was told about a man from Banu Israa’eel who carried a sword on his shoulder in the path of Allah for one thousand months. So Allah’s Messenger was amazed by this and wished this for his ummah, saying, “O Lord, You made my ummah the shortest of nations in terms of lifespan and the least of them in terms of deeds?” So then Allah gave him Laylah al-Qadr and said,

لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ

Laylah al-Qadr is better than one thousand months

in which that man from Banu Israa’eel carried a sword in the path of Allah. It is for you and your ummah until the Day of Resurrection.” Continue reading

Supplication in Ramadan: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In part of his explanation of surah al-Qadr, al-Haafidh ibn Kathir mentioned the following:

والمستحب الإكثار من الدعاء في جميع الأوقات ، وفي شهر رمضان أكثر ، وفي العشر الأخير منه ، ثم في أوتاره أكثر . والمستحب أن يكثر من هذا الدعاء : ” اللهم ، إنك عفو تحب العفو ، فاعف عني ” ; لما رواه الإمام أحمد : حدثنا يزيد – هو ابن هارون – ، حدثنا الجريري – وهو سعيد بن إياس – ، عن عبد الله بن بريدة ، أن عائشة قالت : يا رسول الله ، إن وافقت ليلة القدر فما أدعو ؟ قال : ” قولي : اللهم إنك عفو تحب العفو ، فاعف عني ” .ـ

It is encouraged to engage in an abundance of supplication during all times, and to increase beyond that during the month of Ramadan, and then to increase therein during its last ten days, and then to increase even further in the odd-numbered ones.

And it is encouraged to be prolific in making the following supplication:

 اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي

Allaahumma innaka ‘Afuwwun

tuhibbu’l-‘afwa

f’afu ‘anee

O Allah, Indeed You are Pardoning and love pardoning, so pardon me! Continue reading

I did not Create the Jinn and Mankind Except to Worship Me: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Near the end of surah al-Dhaariyaat, Allah says:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ * مَا أُرِيدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَن يُطْعِمُونِ * إِنَّ اللَّـهَ هُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُ

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me * I do not desire provision from them, nor do I want them to feed me * It is Allah who is the continual provider, the firm possessor of strength. [51-56-58]

Commenting on this in his well-known tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di wrote:

هذه الغاية التي خلق الله الجن والإنس لها، وبعث جميع الرسل يدعون إليها، وهي عبادته، المتضمنة لمعرفته ومحبته، والإنابة إليه والإقبال عليه، والإعراض عما سواه ـ

This is the purpose for which Allah created the Jinn and mankind, and all of the Messengers were sent to call to this: that is, the worship of Allah. Worship of Allah involves knowing Him, loving Him, turning to Him in repentance, dedicating oneself to Him, and turning away from the worship of any others.

وذلك يتضمن معرفة الله تعالى، فإن تمام العبادة متوقف على المعرفة بالله، بل كلما ازداد العبد معرفة بربه، كانت عبادته أكمل، فهذا الذي خلق الله المكلفين لأجله، فما خلقهم لحاجة منه إليهم. ـ

This involves knowing Allah, as complete worship is dependent upon knowing Allah. In fact, the more that a person increases in knowing His Lord, the more complete his worship will be. So it is for this purpose that Allah created these two legally-responsible beings [i.e. Jinn and mankind]; He did not created them out of any need for them. Continue reading

The Themes of Surah Qaaf and When to Recite it: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In the beginning of his explanation of surah Qaaf, after discussing how the Sahabah used to divide their reading of the Qur’an, al-haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir mentioned a number of narrations about when the Prophet used to recite surah Qaaf and its major themes:

قال الإمام أحمد : حدثنا عبد الرحمن بن مهدي ، حدثنا مالك ، عن ضمرة بن سعيد ، عن عبيد الله بن عبد الله ; أن عمر بن الخطاب سأل أبا واقد الليثي : ما كان رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – يقرأ في العيد ؟ قال : بقاف ، واقتربت . ـ

Imam Ahmad relayed … that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab asked Abu Waaqid al-Laythi, “What did Allah’s Messenger used to recite for the ‘Eid?” He replied, “Qaaf (50) and Iqtarabat [i.e. surah al-Qamar (54)].”

ورواه مسلم وأهل السنن الأربعة ، من حديث مالك ، به . وفي رواية لمسلم عن فليح عن ضمرة ، عن عبيد الله ، عن أبي واقد قال : سألني عمر ، فذكره . ـ

Muslim and the authors of the four Sunan relayed a hadith from Maalik to this effect. And in the narration of Muslim … on the authority of Abu Waaqid, who said, “‘Umar asked me…” and then he mentioned the rest of the hadith.

حديث آخر : وقال أحمد : حدثنا يعقوب ، حدثنا أبي ، عن ابن إسحاق ، حدثني عبد الله بن محمد بن أبي بكر بن عمرو بن حزم ، عن يحيى بن عبد الله بن عبد الرحمن بن سعد بن زرارة ، عن أم هشام بنت حارثة قالت : لقد كان تنورنا وتنور النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – واحدا سنتين ، أو سنة وبعض سنة ، وما أخذت ( ق والقرآن المجيد ) إلا على لسان رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – كان يقرؤها كل يوم جمعة على المنبر إذا خطب الناس . ـ

رواه مسلم [ أيضا ] من حديث ابن إسحاق ، به . ـ

In another hadith, Ahmad relayed … that Umm Hishaam ibn Haarithah said: Continue reading