The Virtues of Surah al-Ikhlaas: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars as well as Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawaa of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was asked the following question:

 نص السؤال : ما صحة هذا الحديث‏:‏ ‏«من قرأ‏:‏ ‏{‏قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ‏}‏ في ليلة ألف مرة فقد شرى نفسه من الله‏» ؟‏

Question: What is the veracity of the hadeeth, “whoever recites surah al-Ikhlaas (102) one thousand times within the course of a night, then he has purchased himself from Allah”?

نص الإجابة : أما سورة‏:‏ ‏{ ‏قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ‏ }‏ فهي سورة عظيمة أخبر النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – في أحاديث صحيحة” أنها تعادل ثلث القرآن‏” ،، وذلك لما تتضمنه من أوصاف الله سبحانه وتعالى ونعوت جلاله، فهي سورة خالصة في التوحيد، ولهذا تسمى سورة الإخلاص، وكان النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ” يقرأها مع المعوذتين عند النوم” ‏‏، وكان يحث على قراءتها ‏لما فيها من الفضل العظيم، وأنها تعدل ثلث القرآن‏.‏  ـ

Response: As for surah al-Ikhlaas, it is a tremendous surah about which the Prophet (ﷺ) informed us in a number of authentic reports that “it is equal to one third of the Qur’an”, and that is due to the descriptions and attributes of Allah that it contains. For it is a surah which is entirely devoted to the subject of tawheed, and this is why it is named “surah al-Ikhlaas“. And the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “recite it along with the surah al-Falaq (113) and surah al-Nas (114) before sleeping”. This encouragement to recite it is due to the great virtue it holds and that it is equal to one third of the Qur’an. Continue reading

Gathering in the Houses of Allah to Recite and Study the Qur’an: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

Abu Hurayrah narrates that Allah’s Messenger once said, in part of a longer hadith, that:

وَمَا اجْتَمَعَ قَوْمٌ فِي بَيْتٍ مِنْ بُيُوتِ اللَّهِ يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ، وَيَتَدَارَسُونَهُ بَيْنَهُمْ؛ إلَّا نَزَلَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ السَّكِينَةُ، وَغَشِيَتْهُمْ الرَّحْمَةُ، وَ حَفَّتهُمُ المَلاَئِكَة، وَذَكَرَهُمْ اللَّهُ فِيمَنْ عِنْدَهُ

No people gather together in one of the Houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that sakeenah descends upon them, and mercy envelops them, and the angels surround them, and Allah mentions them in the midst of those who are with Him.

[Sahih Muslim #2699]

In his explanation of Imam al-Nawawi’s forty ahaadeeth, sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan provides the following commentary on this part of the hadith:

هذا فيه أن طلب العلم ينبغي أن يكون في المساجد ؛ لأنها بيوت الله ، ومأوى الملائكة ، وفيها السكينة والرحمة ، فينبغي أن يكون طلب العلم في المساجد ، لا في المخيمات ولا في الاستراحات – ولا مانع أن يكون هناك مجلس علمي ، أو هناك مدرسة يدرس فيها العلم ، لكن المسجد أفضل ، مهما أمكن أن تكون الدراسة في المسجد فذلك أفضل ، وإذا كان هناك مجلس علمي منضبط فلا بأس ، لكنه أقل أفضلية من المسجد ، (وَمَا اجْتَمَعَ قَوْمٌ فِي بَيْتٍ مِنْ بُيُوتِ اللَّهِ ) يعني : المساجد (يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ) يقرؤونه ويتعلمون قراءته على وجه الصحيح ويحفظونه ؛ لأنه هو أصل العلم ، (وَيَتَدَارَسُونَهُ بَيْنَهُمْ) يفهمون معانيه ، وليس المقصود الحفظ فقط وأنك تحفظ القرآن وتتقنه بالقراءات العشر ، لا ، هذا وسيلة وليس هو المقصود ، والمطلوب أنك تتفهم وتفقه معانيه وتعمل به : أولا : تقرؤه  ثانيا : تفهمه   ثالثا : تعمل به . والعمل بالقرآن هو المطلوب ، ولكن حفظه وتجويده وتفهم معانيه وتفسيره على الوجه الصحيح ، هذه وسائل العمل بالقرآن الكريم . ـ

This hadith includes the fact that seeking knowledge ought to take place in the masaajid, for they are the houses of Allah and the place which the angels frequent, and they contain tranquility and mercy. So seeking knowledge ought to be done in the masaajid, not in tents or hotels [as is sometimes done for conferences]. But there is nothing to prevent there being schools of other gathering places for knowledge in which religious knowledge is studied; however the masjid is better; if it is possible to have the lessons in the masjid then that is better. If there is some place established for systematic religious study, then this is not a problem, however this is less virtuous than if it were to take place in the masjid. Continue reading

Naseehah to the Qur’an: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

Imam Muslim narrates the famous hadeeth in his Saheeh [#55] that:

عَنْ تَمِيمٍ الدَّارِيِّ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ الدِّينُ النَّصِيحَةُ ‏”‏ قُلْنَا لِمَنْ قَالَ ‏”‏ لِلَّهِ وَلِكِتَابِهِ وَلِرَسُولِهِ وَلأَئِمَّةِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَعَامَّتِهِمْ ‏”‏

Tameem al-Dari said that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The religion is Naseehah [sincerity].”

So we said, “To whom?”

He replied, “To Allah, and to His Book, and to His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims, and to the common Muslims.”

In his explanation of al-Nawawi’s collection of Forty Hadeeth, sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan explained Naseehah to Allah’s Book as follows:

قال : {ولكتابه} النصيحة لكتاب الله – وهو القرآن – أن تؤمن به وتعتقد أنه كلام الله وأنه منزل غير مخلوق ، وأنه كلام الله حقيقة ، أنزله على رسوله ﷺ ، ثم تكثر من تلاوته ، وتتدبره ، وتتأمل معانيه ، وتطلب تفسيره ، ثم تعمل به ، وتخلص العمل لله عز وجل ، هذه النصيحة لكتاب الله عز وجل : أولا : أن تعتقد أنه كلام الله حقيقة . ثانيا : أن تتعلمه . ثالثا : أن تكثر من تلاوته . رابعا : أن تتدبره ، فلا يكفي أن تقرأه دون معرفة معانيه وتفسيره . خامسا : أن تعمل به . ذلك لأن العلم من غير عمل لا يفيدك شيئا ، ولو كنت من أكثر الناس حفظا للقرآن ، وأكثر الناس تلاوته للقرآن ، ما دام أنك لا تعمل به ، فليست ناصحا لكتاب الله عز وجل ، بل تكون غاشا لكتاب الله عز وجل . ـ

Allah’s Messenger said, “and to His Book“.

And Naseehah to the Book of Allah – which is the Qur’an – is to believe in it and to have firm belief that it is the Speech of Allah and that it was revealed, not created. And to believe that it is really the Speech of Allah revealed to His Messenger (ﷺ). And then, you frequently engage in reciting it, in reflecting on it, in pondering over its meanings and seeking out its explanations. And then you proceed to act in accordance with it and to make your actions purely for the sake of Allah. This is naseehah to the Book of Allah: Continue reading

The Importance of Tafsir and its Sources: Sheikh al-Fawzan

In an addendum to one of his many books, sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan briefly outlined the importance of the science of tafsir and the proper sources for making tafsir. He wrote:

تنبيه مهم
An Important Issue

إن التفسير القرآن مهمة عظيمة ومسئولية كبيرة لا يجوز أن يتحملها إلا من تتوفر فيه الأهلية الكافية ، قال ﷺ : { من قال في القرآن برأيه وبما لا يعلم فليتبوأ مقعده من النار وأخطأه ولو أصاب } ذلك لأن القرآن كلام الله والذي يفسره يبين عن الله مراده فإذا كان غير أهل لذلك كان من الذين يقولون على الله بلا علم ، وقد قال الله تعالى : [ قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ ] إلى قوله تعالى : [ وَأَن تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّـهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ ] . فجعل قول عليه أعظيم المحرمات وفوق الشرك .

The explanation of the Qur’an is certainly an extremely important issue and a great responsibility. It is not permissible for anyone to undertake it except for one who has devoted himself to its study and is fully qualified. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Whoever speaks about the Qur’an with his opinion and about that which he does not know, then let him take his seat in the Hell-fire; and he has erred, even if what he said happened to be correct.” That is because the Qur’an is the Speech of Allah, and the one who makes tafsir of it is explaining its meanings on behalf of Allah. So if he is not qualified to do that, then he is one of those who speaks about Allah without knowledge. And Allah has said:

Continue reading

Notes on the Book “Safwah al-Tafaasir”: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

In the late 1970s, sheikh Muhammad ‘Ali al-Saabooni, a professor at King ‘Abd al-‘Azeez University and Umm al-Quraa’ University in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, published a book of tafsir entitled “Safwah al-Tafaasir“. This book has since spread far and wide and gained popularity, especially because it was primarily written for a common audience. However, a number of scholars have noted issues and problems within it, and have subsequently written detailed corrections and notes regarding the book, as well as other works of al-Saabooni.

What follows is an excerpt from the detailed notes and correction of sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan concerning “Safwah al-Tafaasir“. Sheikh Fawzan is a member of the Council of Senior Scholars of Saudi Arabia, among many other positions, may Allah preserve him.

الحمد لله رب العالمين، والصلاة والسلام على نبينا محمد وآله وصحبه، وبعد‏:‏ فإن المسلمين بحاجة شديدة إلى معرفة معاني كتاب ربهم عز وجل؛ لأن ذلك وسيلة للعمل به والانتفاع بهديه، وقد قام أئمة الإسلام بهذه المهمة خير قيام، ففسروا كتاب الله معتمدين في ذلك على تفسير القرآن بالقرآن، ثم بسنة رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – ثم على أقوال الصحابة والتابعين وأتباعهم من القرون المفضلة، وما تقتضيه اللغة التي أنزل بها، فجاءت تفاسيرهم نقية صافية من التأويلات الباطلة والأهواء المضلة التي غالبا ما تشتمل عليها تفاسير من جاء بعدهم ممن لم يحذ حذوهم‏.‏ ـ

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation. Peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, his family and his companions. To proceed:

Indeed, the Muslims are in great need of knowing the meanings of their Lord’s Book, for that is a means to acting in accordance with it and benefiting from its guidance. The scholars of Islam have been attendant to this important matter with the greatest of care, and as such they have explained the Book of Allah and they have made their foundation for that the explanation of the Qur’an by the Qur’an itself, then by the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger, then according to the statements of the Sahabah, the Taabi’oon and those who followed them from the best generations, as well as what the language in which it was sent down in necessitates. And so their explanations have come pure and unsullied by the false interpretations and misguided desires which are so prevalent in the contents of those explanations which came after them from those who did not follow their example.

وقد ظهر أخيرا تفسير للشيخ محمد على الصابوني تحت عنوان‏:‏ ‏”‏ صفوة التفاسير ‏”‏، وهو عنوان يلفت النظر، لأنه يتضمن أن المؤلف أحاط بالتفاسير وانتقى منها صفوتها الصافية المطابقة للتفسير الصحيح لكتاب الله، وأكد ذلك بما كتبه تحت العنوان من قوله‏:‏ ‏”‏ تفسير للقرآن الكريم جامع بين المأثور والمعقول، مستمد من أوثق كتب التفسير ‏”‏، وكنت ممن استهواهم هذا العنوان، فأقبلت على قراءة هذا التفسير، وسرعان ما تبين لي أنه يشتمل على أخطاء في العقيدة مستمدة من كتب ليست هي أوثق التفاسير، وحيث إن الكتاب قد انتشر ووقع بين يدي كثير ممن قد لا يميزون بين الخطإ والصواب، لذا رأيت أن أدون ما رأيته على الكتاب من ملاحظات، وأن أنشرها للقراء إبراء للذمة، ونصيحة لله ولكتابه ولرسوله ولأئمة المسلمين وعامتهم‏.‏ ـ

In recent times a book by Sheikh Muhammad ‘Ali al-Saabooni has been published under the title “Safwah al-Tafaasir” [“The Choice Cuts of the Books of Tafsir”]. And this is a title which attracts attention, for it implies that the author has taken the creme of the crop from the various books of tafsir, corresponding to the correct explanation of the Book of Allah. And he reaffirms this idea with the book’s subtitle, which is, “Tafsir of the Noble Qur’an, Combining both Narration-Based and Insight-Based Explanations, Taken from the Most Trust-worthy Books of Tafsir”. And I was among those who were enticed by this title, so I sat down to read this tafsir, but it quickly became clear to me that it contained a number of mistakes in ‘aqeedah which is taken from books which are not the most trust-worthy of tafsirs. And subsequently this book has been disseminated and found its way into the hands of many who are not able to distinguish between what is correct and what is incorrect. So in light of that, I thought that I should record what I found in need of being noted in this book, and that I should make this available so as to free myself of blame and as an act of naseehah to Allah, His Book , His Messenger, the Muslim leaders and the lay-people. Continue reading

The Disconnected Letters: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan mentioned the following during part of his tafsir lesson on the first twenty ayaat of surah al-Baqarah:

قوله تعالى : { الم } : افتتح الله هذه السورة بقوله : { الم } ، وهي من الحروف المقطعة ، افتتح الله ﺑﻬا كثيرا من السور ، ومن هذه الحروف : {المص} ، {ألمر} ، {حم} ، {كهيعص} ، {طه} ، {يس} ، {ق} ، {ص} ، {حم * عسق} . ـ

Allah began this surah with His statement:

الم

Alif. Lam. Meem. [2:1]

And these are among the Disconnected Letters [al-Huroof al-Muqatta’ah]. Allah uses them to begin many surahs. And among these letters there are:

المص

Alif. Lam. Meem. Sad. [7:1]

المر

Alif. Lam. Meem. Ra. [13:1]

حم

Ha. Meem. [40:1, 41:1, 43:1, 44:1, 45:1, 46:1] Continue reading