Hajj is During Well-Known Months: Tafsir al-Sa’di

While discussing some of the rulings related to Hajj in surah al-Baqarah, Allah informs us that:

الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَّعْلُومَاتٌ ۚ فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ ۗ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّـهُ ۗ وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَىٰ ۚ وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ

Hajj is during well-known months. So whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein, there is no rafath and no fusooq and no jidal during Hajj. And whatever you do of good good – Allah knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is taqwa. So have taqwa, O you of understanding. [2:197]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di explained this ayah in his tafsir by writing:

يخبر تعالى أن { الْحَجَّ } واقع في { أَشْهُرٌ مَعْلُومَاتٌ } عند المخاطبين, مشهورات, بحيث لا تحتاج إلى تخصيص، كما احتاج الصيام إلى تعيين شهره, وكما بين تعالى أوقات الصلوات الخمس. وأما الحج فقد كان من ملة إبراهيم, التي لم تزل مستمرة في ذريته معروفة بينهم. والمراد بالأشهر المعلومات عند جمهور العلماء: شوال, وذو القعدة, وعشر من ذي الحجة, فهي التي يقع فيها الإحرام بالحج غالبا.ـ

Allah informs us that

الْحَجَّ

Hajj …

takes place during

أَشْهُرٌ مَعْلُومَاتٌ

… well-known months

i.e. well-known to those to whom this revelation was originally addressed. Well-known such that there was no need to specify it as had been the case which explicitly naming the month of fasting or how Allah had clarified the times of the five daily prayers. But the Hajj had been part of the religion of Ibrahim which had continued to be practiced among his descendants and was known to them. According to the majority of scholars, the intended meaning of the well-known months is Shawwaal, Dhu’l-Qa’dah, and Dhu’l-Hijjah because these are the months in which people enter in a state of ihram for Hajj for the most part.

ـ { فَمَنْ فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ } أي: أحرم به, لأن الشروع فيه يصيره فرضا, ولو كان نفلا. واستدل بهذه الآية الشافعي ومن تابعه, على أنه لا يجوز الإحرام بالحج قبل أشهره، قلت لو قيل: إن فيها دلالة لقول الجمهور, بصحة الإحرام [بالحج] قبل أشهره لكان قريبا، فإن قوله: { فَمَنْ فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ } دليل على أن الفرض قد يقع في الأشهر المذكورة وقد لا يقع فيها, وإلا لم يقيده. ـ

فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ

So whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein … Continue reading

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Hajj is ‘Arafah: Tafsir ibn Kathir

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kaathir mentioned the following points regarding the Day of ‘Arafah in his tafsir of surah al-Baqarah:

وعرفة : موضع الموقف في الحج ، وهي عمدة أفعال الحج ; ولهذا روى الإمام أحمد ، وأهل السنن ، بإسناد صحيح ، عن الثوري ، عن بكير بن عطاء ، عن عبد الرحمن بن يعمر الديلي ، [ ص: 552 ] قال : سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : ” الحج عرفات – ثلاثا – فمن أدرك عرفة قبل أن يطلع الفجر ، فقد أدرك . وأيام منى ثلاثة ، فمن تعجل في يومين فلا إثم عليه ، ومن تأخر فلا إثم عليه ” . ـ

‘Arafah is a place of standing during the Hajj, and it is one of the pillars of the rituals of the Hajj. In support of this is the hadeeth with a sound chain of narration that was conveyed by Imam Ahmad and authors of the Sunan collections on the authority of al-Thawri, on the authority on Bukayr ibn ‘Ataa’, on the authority of ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Y’amar al-Dayli who said:

I heard Allah’s Messenger say, “Hajj is ‘Arafah” – three times – “so whoever catches ‘Arafah before the rising of dawn, then he has caught the Hajj. And the days of Mina are three, but whoever hastens to leave after two days, then there is no sin upon, and whoever waits, then there is no sin upon him.” Continue reading

Purifying the Ka’bah: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In surah al-Hajj, Allah informs us of his command to Ibrahim to purify the Ka’bah:

 وَإِذْ بَوَّأْنَا لِإِبْرَاهِيمَ مَكَانَ الْبَيْتِ أَن لَّا تُشْرِكْ بِي شَيْئًا وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْقَائِمِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ

And when We designated for Ibrahim the site of the House, [saying], “Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand and those who bow and prostrate. [22:26]

al-haafidh ibn Kathir commented on this ayah in his tafsir by writing:

( وطهر بيتي ) قال مجاهد وقتادة : من الشرك ، ( للطائفين والقائمين والركع السجود ) أي : اجعله خالصا لهؤلاء الذين يعبدون الله وحده لا شريك له . فالطائف به معروف ، وهو أخص العبادات عند البيت ، فإنه لا يفعل ببقعة من الأرض سواها ، ( والقائمين ) أي : في الصلاة; ولهذا قال : ( والركع السجود ) فقرن الطواف بالصلاة; لأنهما لا يشرعان إلا مختصين بالبيت ، فالطواف عنده ، والصلاة إليه في غالب الأحوال ، إلا ما استثني من الصلاة عند اشتباه القبلة وفي الحرب ، وفي النافلة في السفر ، والله أعلم .ـ

وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ

And purify My House …

Mujahid and Qatadah said this means: purify it from al-Shirk.

لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْقَائِمِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ

… for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand and those who bow and prostrate.

meaning: make this House exclusively for those who worship Allah alone without associating any partners with Him. Continue reading

Two Qur’anic Proofs that Ismaa’eel is the Sacrificed Son: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following clarifying explanation in his tafsir of surah al-Saffaat:

قوله تعالى : وقال إني ذاهب إلى ربي سيهدين رب هب لي من الصالحين فبشرناه بغلام حليم ، إلى قوله تعالى : وفديناه بذبح عظيم . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَقَالَ إِنِّي ذَاهِبٌ إِلَىٰ رَ‌بِّي سَيَهْدِينِ * رَ‌بِّ هَبْ لِي مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ * فَبَشَّرْ‌نَاهُ بِغُلَامٍ حَلِيمٍ

And then Ibrahim said, “Indeed, I will go to [where I am ordered by] my Lord; He will guide me. * My Lord, grant me [a child] from among the righteous.” * So We gave him good tidings of a forbearing boy.

until His saying:

وَفَدَيْنَاهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ

And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice [37:99-107]

اعلم أولا : أن العلماء اختلفوا في هذا الغلام الذي أمر إبراهيم في المنام بذبحه ، ومعلوم أن رؤيا الأنبياء وحي ، ثم لما باشر عمل ذبحه امتثالا للأمر ، فداه الله بذبح عظيم ، هل هو إسماعيل أو إسحاق ؟ وقد وعدنا في سورة ” الحجر ” ، بأنا نوضح ذلك بالقرآن في سورة ” الصافات ” ، وهذا وقت إنجاز الوعد . ـ

Firstly, know that the scholars have differed regarding this boy that Ibrahim was commanded in his sleep to sacrifice, and it is well known that the dreams of the prophets are wahyi (Divine revelation). Then when he was proceeding to do the act of his sacrifice in compliance with the command, Allah ransomed him with a great sacrifice – so was this Ismaa’eel or Ishaaq? And we had promised in the tafsir of surah al-Hijr that we would clarify this issue by means of the Qur’an in surah al-Saffaat, so now is the time to fulfill that promise.

اعلم ، وفقني الله وإياك ، أن القرآن العظيم قد دل في موضعين ، على أن الذبيح هو إسماعيل لا إسحاق . أحدهما في ” الصافات ” ، والثاني في ” هود ” . ـ

You should know – may Allah grant me and you success – that the Magnificent Qur’an has demonstrated in two places that the sacrificed one is Ismaa’eel and not Ishaaq. One of these places is in surah al-Saffaat, and the other is in surah Hood. Continue reading

The Ruling on Fighting during the Sacred Months: Ibn Rajab

In his chapter concerning the sacred month of Rajab, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali brought forth the following discussion on the ruling of fighting during the sacred months (al-Ashhoor al-Hurum):

وقد اختلف العلماء في حكم القتال في الأشهر الحرم هل تحريمه باق أو نسخ ؟ فالجمهور على أنه نسخ تحريمه ونص على نسخه الإمام أحمد وغيره من الأئمة . وذهبت طائفة من السلف ، منهم عطاء ، إلى بقاء تحريمه ورجحه بعض المتأخرين واستدلوا بآية المائدة والمائدة من آخر ما نزل من القرآن وقد روي: “أحلوا حلالها وحرموا حرامها” ـ

The scholars have differed concerning the ruling of fighting during the Sacred Months – does its prohibition remain or was it abrogated? The majority are of the opinion that its prohibition was abrogated, and Imam Ahmad and others from the scholars specifically stated that. And a group of the salaf held the position – and among them was ‘Ataa’ – that its prohibition remained, and some of the latter-day scholars held that to be correct and they used the ayah of surah al-Maa’idah* as evidence since al-Maa’idah was one of the last parts of the Qur’an to be revealed. And it is narrated [concerning surah al-Maa’idah], “Consider halaal its halaal, and consider haraam its haraam.” Continue reading

“The month of ‪‎Rajab‬ is the key to the months of goodness and blessings”: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

Ibn Rajab, in his work Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif which details the virtuous deeds, innovated acts, and recommended practices of the various months of the Islamic calender, mentioned the following points of benefit in the conclusion of his chapter on the month of Rajab:

وروى زائدة بن أبي الرقاد ، عن زياد النميري ، عن أنس ، قال : كان رسول الله ﷺ إذا دخل رجب قال : اللهم بارك لنا في رجب وشعبان وبلِّغنا رمضان

Zaa’idah ibn Abi al-Ruqaad narrated from Ziyaad al-Nameeri, from Anas who said: When Rajab would come, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would say, “O Allah! Bless us in Rajab and Sha’baan and allow us to reach Ramadan!”*

وروى عن أبي إسماعيل الأنصاري أنه قال : لم يصحّ في فضل رجب غير هذا الحديث . وفي قوله نظرٌ؛ فإنّ هذا الإسناد فيه ضعفٌ. وفي هذا الحديث دليلٌ على استحباب الدعاء بالبقاء إلى الأزمان الفاضلة ؛ لإدراك الأعمال الصالحة فيها ؛ فإنّ المؤمن لا يزيده عمره إلّا خيراً ، وخيرُ الناس من طال عمره وحَسُنَ عمله. وكان السلف يستحبون أن يموتوا عَقِبَ عملٍ صالحٍ ؛ من صوم رمضان ، ورجوع من الحجّ ، وكان يقال : من مات كذلك غُفِرَله

And it is narrated from Abu Ismaa’eel al-Ansaari that he said, “There is nothing authentic regarding the merit of Rajab other than this hadeeth.” However there are different views on his statement, for this isnad contains some weakness.

This hadeeth contains an evidence for the desirability to supplicate for the extension of one’s life until virtuous times, in order to attain righteous good deeds therein. For verily the believer does not have his lifespan increased except that it is good for him, and the best of people are those whose lives are long and who beautify their actions (i.e. with obedience). And the salaf used to prefer that they would die shortly after a righteous deed, such as the fast of Ramadan, or returning from the Hajj, and they used to say, “Whoever dies like that will be forgiven.” Continue reading

The Sacred Months

Allah سبحانه وتعالى informed the believers in His Book when He said:

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ‌ عِندَ اللَّـهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ‌ شَهْرً‌ا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّـهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضَ مِنْهَا أَرْ‌بَعَةٌ حُرُ‌مٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ ۚ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُمْ

Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them” [9:36]

Ibn Kathir mentions in his great book of tafsir:

وقال علي بن أبي طلحة، عن ابن عباس قوله: {إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا} الآية {فَلا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنْفُسَكُمْ} في كلِّهن، ثم اختص من ذلك أربعة أشهر فجعلهن حراما، وعَظم حُرُماتهن، وجعل الذنب فيهن أعظم، والعمل الصالح والأجر أعظم

‘Ali ibn Abi Talhah narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas about the statement, “Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months” until “so do not commit injustice against yourselves therein” [meaning] in any of them, then He specified four months* from those and he made them sacred, and He emphasized their sacredness, and made sins in them magnified, and righteous actions and the reward (also) magnified. Continue reading