Exhortations in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah says in surah al-Nahl:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ ۚ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and He forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He exhorts you that perhaps you will be reminded. [16:90]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee went into some detail on each element of this ayah in his tafsir. What follows is one section of that explanation related to the mention of “exhortation” in the final part of the ayah:

وقوله ، يعظكم لعلكم تذكرون [ 16 \ 90 ] ، الوعظ : : الكلام الذي تلين له القلوب . ـ

Allah’s statement:

يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

He exhorts you that perhaps you will be reminded

Exhortation – al-wa’th – is speech which serves to soften the heart.

تنبيه : فإن قيل : يكثر في القرآن إطلاق الوعظ على الأوامر والنواهي ; كقوله هنا : يعظكم لعلكم تذكرون [ 16 \ 90 ] ، مع أنه ما ذكر إلا الأمر والنهي في قوله : إن الله يأمر بالعدل ، إلى قوله : وينهى عن الفحشاء . . . الآية [ 16 \ 90 ] ، وكقوله في ( سورة البقرة ) بعد أن ذكر أحكام الطلاق والرجعة : ذلك يوعظ به من كان منكم يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر [ 2 \ 232 ] ، وقوله ( في الطلاق ) في نحو ذلك أيضا : ذلكم يوعظ به من كان يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر ، وقوله في النهي عن مثل قذف عائشة : يعظكم الله أن تعودوا لمثله أبدا . . . الآية [ 24 \ 17 ] ، مع أن المعروف عند الناس : أن الوعظ يكون بالترغيب والترهيب ونحو ذلك ، لا بالأمر والنهي . ـ

A Point Deserving of Attention:

[Question] One might point out that there are a number of places throughout the Qur’an where the term al-wa’th – exhortation – is applied to commands and prohibitions, such as Allah’s statement: Continue reading

“We Have Made Some of the Prophets Exceed Others”: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah says in surah al-Israa’:

وَلَقَدْ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَ النَّبِيِّينَ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۖ وَآتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ زَبُورًا

And We have made some of the prophets exceed others. And we gave Dawud the Zaboor. [17:55]

In part of his famous book of tafsir, al-haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir wrote:

ـ ( ولقد فضلنا بعض النبيين ) ، كما قال ( تلك الرسل فضلنا بعضهم على بعض منهم من كلم الله ورفع بعضهم درجات ) [ البقرة 253 . ـ

وَلَقَدْ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَ النَّبِيِّينَ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ

And We have made some of the prophets exceed others

This is like what He said:

تِلْكَ الرُّسُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۘ مِّنْهُم مَّن كَلَّمَ اللَّـهُ ۖ وَرَفَعَ بَعْضَهُمْ دَرَجَاتٍ

Those messengers – some of them We caused to exceed others. Among them were those to whom Allah spoke, and He raised some of them in degree. [2:253]

وهذا لا ينافي ما ثبت في الصحيحين عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال لا تفضلوا بين الأنبياء ؛ فإن المراد من ذلك هو التفضيل بمجرد التشهي والعصبية ، لا بمقتضى الدليل فإنه إذا دل الدليل على شيء وجب اتباعه ولا خلاف أن الرسل أفضل من بقية الأنبياء وأن أولي العزم منهم أفضلهم وهم الخمسة المذكورون نصا في آيتين من القرآن في سورة الأحزاب ( وإذ أخذنا من النبيين ميثاقهم ومنك ومن نوح وإبراهيم وموسى وعيسى ابن مريم ) [ الأحزاب 7 ] [ ص: 88 ] ، وفي الشورى في قوله : ( شرع لكم من الدين ما وصى به نوحا والذي أوحينا إليك وما وصينا به إبراهيم وموسى وعيسى أن أقيموا الدين ولا تتفرقوا فيه ) [ الشورى 13 . ولا خلاف أن محمدا صلى الله عليه وسلم أفضلهم ثم بعده إبراهيم ثم موسى على المشهور وقد بسطنا هذا بدلائله في غير هذا الموضع والله الموفق ـ

And this does not contradict what has been authentically transmitted from the Prophet in both al-Bukhari and Muslim that he said: Continue reading

Forms of the Qur’an Explaining the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, summarized the following points in a post of his social media:

صور تفسير القرآن بالقرآن : ـ
Forms of the Qur’an Explaining the Qur’an

ـ – ما أجمل في مكان يفسر بما فصل في مكان آخر. ـ

What is mentioned in a general way in one place is explained in further detail elsewhere.

 ـ – أن يفسر اللفظ بما جاء في تفسيره بعده مباشرة، كما في قوله تعالى: ﴿وما أدراك ما الطارق . النجم الثاقب﴾. ـ

A word or phrase could be explained by what comes immediately after it, such as with Allah’s statement:

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الطَّارِقُ * النَّجْمُ الثَّاقِبُ

And what will make you know what al-Tariq is? * A strikingly bright star [86:2-3]

 ـ – أن يفسر بالمقابلة، كما في قوله تعالى: ﴿وَأَنَّهُ هُوَ أَغْنَى وَأَقْنَى﴾ (النجم: 48). ـ

Something could be explained by way of contrast, such as with Allah’s statement:

Continue reading

The Seven Qiraa’aat are all Part of One Harf: ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah once received a letter with a series of questions about the qiraa’aat in it, including:

وسئل عن قول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ” { أنزل القرآن على سبعة أحرف } ” ما المراد بهذه السبعة ؟ وهل هذه القراءات المنسوبة إلى نافع وعاصم وغيرهما هي الأحرف السبعة أو واحد منها ؟ وما السبب الذي أوجب الاختلاف بين القراء فيما احتمله خط المصحف ؟ وهل تجوز القراءة برواية الأعمش وابن محيصن وغيرهما من القراءات الشاذة أم لا ؟ وإذا جازت القراءة بها فهل تجوز الصلاة بها أم لا ؟ أفتونا مأجورين . ـ

The sheikh was asked about the Prophet’s statement, “The Qur’an was sent down in seven ahruf

(a) what is meant by these seven?

(b) Are the qiraa’aat attributed to Naafi’ and ‘Asim and others the seven ahruf or just one of them?

(c) What is it that causes there to be differences among the reciters within the bounds of the text of the official ‘Uthmani Mushaf?

(d) Is is permissible to recite the recitation of al-A’mash or ibn Muhaysin or other such shadh [non-canonical] recitations? If so, is allowed to pray with them?

We would greatly appreciate if you could deliver some verdicts for us.

[Majmoo’ Fataawaa 13/389]

What follows is part of Ibn Taymiyah‘s response to these questions, touching on the fourth question (d) and the second question (b) while also addressing a number of related topics such as the collection of the Qur’an:

وأما القراءة الشاذة الخارجة عن رسم المصحف العثماني مثل قراءة ابن مسعود وأبي الدرداء رضي الله عنهما ( والليل إذا يغشى والنهار إذا تجلى والذكر والأنثى كما قد ثبت ذلك في الصحيحين . ـ

There are the shadh [non-canonical] qiraa’aat which do not match with the text of the official ‘Uthmani mushaf, such as the recitation of ibn Mas’ood and Abu al-Dardaa’ (may Allah be pleased with them both) of: Continue reading

Assorted Qur’an Benefits #28

What follows is a collection of benefits that were originally posted on our social media outlets in August, September and October of 2018:

♦ And Allah Would Not Make your Eemaan to be Lost

In his explanation of surah al-Baqarah, Imam Muhammad al-Shawkaani wrote:

وقوله : وما كان الله ليضيع إيمانكم قال القرطبي : اتفق العلماء على أنها نزلت فيمن مات وهو يصلي إلى بيت المقدس ، ثم قال : فسمى الصلاة إيمانا لاجتماعها على نية وقول وعمل ، وقيل : المراد ثبات المؤمنين على الإيمان عند تحويل القبلة ، وعدم ارتيابهم كما ارتاب غيرهم .ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَمَا كَانَ اللَّـهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ

And Allah would make your eemaan to be lost. [2:143]

al-Qurtubi said: The scholars are agreed that this was revealed about those who died while they were still praying towards Bayt al-Maqdis.

He also said: So prayer was called eemaan because it brings together and involves intention, speech and action.

And some have said: The intended message here is referring to the believer’s firmness of faith when the direction of prayer was changed without experiencing any misgivings or hesitation, unlike others who experienced doubts.

[Fath al-Qadeer pg. 99]


♦ The Angels Taking the Souls at Death

Allah begins surah al-Naazi’aat with a series of oaths regarding the angels. Sheikh Thanaullah al-Hindi al-Amritsari began his explanation of this surah by saying: Continue reading

A Parable of the Disbelievers and the Believers: Tafsir al-Tabari

Allah strikes the following parable in surah Hud:

مَثَلُ الْفَرِيقَيْنِ كَالْأَعْمَىٰ وَالْأَصَمِّ وَالْبَصِيرِ وَالسَّمِيعِ ۚ هَلْ يَسْتَوِيَانِ مَثَلًا ۚ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ

The example of the two parties is like the blind and the deaf, and the seeing and the hearing. Are these two equal in comparison? Will you not then remember? [11:24]

Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari wrote the following in his tafsir of this ayah:

قَالَ أَبُو جَعْفَرٍ : يَقُولُ ، تَعَالَى ذِكْرُهُ : مَثَلُ فَرِيقَيِ الْكُفْرِ وَالْإِيمَانِ كَمَثَلِ الْأَعْمَى الَّذِي لَا يَرَى بِعَيْنِهِ شَيْئًا ، وَالْأَصَمِّ الَّذِي لَا يَسْمَعُ شَيْئًا ، فَكَذَلِكَ فَرِيقُ الْكُفْرِ لَا يُبَصِّرُ الْحَقَّ فَيَتَّبِعُهُ وَيَعْمَلُ بِهِ ، لِشَغْلِهِ بِكُفْرِهِ بِاللَّهِ ، وَغَلَبَةِ خِذْلَانِ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ ، لَا يَسْمَعُ دَاعِيَ اللَّهِ إِلَى الرَّشَادِ ، فَيُجِيبُهُ إِلَى الْهُدَى فَيَهْتَدِي بِهِ ، فَهُوَ مُقِيمٌ فِي ضَلَالَتِهِ ، يَتَرَدَّدُ فِي حَيْرَتِهِ . وَالسَّمِيعُ وَالْبَصِيرُ فَذَلِكَ فَرِيقُ الْإِيمَانِ ، أَبْصَرَ حُجَجَ اللَّهِ ، وَأَقَرَّ بِمَا دَلَّتْ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ تَوْحِيدِ اللَّهِ ، وَالْبَرَاءَةِ مِنَ الْآلِهَةِ وَالْأَنْدَادِ ، وَنُبُوَّةَ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ عَلَيْهِمُ السَّلَامُ ، وَسَمِعَ دَاعِيَ اللَّهِ فَأَجَابَهُ وَعَمِلَ بِطَاعَةِ اللَّهِ ، كَمَا : ـ

I, Abu Ja’far, say: Allah is saying: The comparison of these two parties – that of disbelief and that of belief – is like the comparison of a blind person whose eyes cannot see anything at all and a deaf person who cannot hear anything, for similarly, those in the party of disbelief cannot see the truth that they might follow and act according to it due to how distracted they are with their disbelief in Allah and because their act of forsaking Allah has come back against them. They do not hear Allah’s callers calling them to upright guidance so that they might accept that guidance and become rightly guided by it. Instead they remain in their misguided state, stuck in a perpetual state of confusion.

But the seeing and hearing one is the party of belief. They see Allah’s signs and proofs and therefore affirm that these signs demonstrate Allah’s sole right to be worshiped, His freedom from having any partners or associates, and His having sent prophets. They hear Allah’s callers and respond to the call and obey Allah.

This explanation is similar to the explanations of the salaf, such as: Continue reading

Reflecting on the Wonders of Allah’s Creation: Sheikh Faisal Aal Mubarak

In his brief explanation of al-Nawawi’s Riyadh al-Saliheen, Sheikh Faisal Aal Mubarak provided the following valuable comments about a recurring theme in the Qur’an:

باب التفكير في عظيم مخلوقات الله تَعَالَى وفناء الدنيا وأهوال الآخرة وسائر أمورهما وتقصيرنفس وتهذيبها وحملها عَلَى الاستقامة
Chapter: Reflecting on the Wonders of Allah’s Creation, the Passing Nature of this Worldly Life, the Terrors of the Hereafter and other related matters. Also, Recognizing One’s Own Deficiencies, Removing Them and Motivating Oneself to Be Upright

التفكر في المخلوقات: كالعرش، والكرسي، والسماء والأرض يدل على كمال الخالق وعظمته. ـ

Reflecting on the Wonders of Allah’s Creation – such as the ‘Arsh – the Throne, the Kursi – the Footstool, the sky and the earth. All of these things point to the grandeur and complete perfection of the Creator.

وفي الحديث: «ما السماء والأرض، وما بينهما في العرش إلا كحلقة أُلْقيتْ في فلاة من الأرض» ، وقد قال الله تعالى: {وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ وَالأَرْضُ جَمِيعاً قَبْضَتُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَالسَّماوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ} [الزمر (67) ] .” ـ

There is a hadith:

The heavens and the earth in comparison to the kursi are like a plate of armor in the midst of a desert, and the kursi in comparison to the Throne is itself like a plate of armor in the midst of a desert.

And Allah said:

وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ وَالأَرْضُ جَمِيعاً قَبْضَتُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَالسَّماوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal, while He will take the entire earth within His grip on the Day of Resurrection and the heavens will be folded in His right hand. Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him. [39:67]

والتفكُّر في فناء الدنيا: يبعثه على الزهد فيها، والإِقبال على الآخرة. ـ

Reflecting on the Passing Nature of this Worldly Life – this promotes more self-restraint when it comes to pursuing the pleasures of this worldly life, instead turning one’s attention to the hereafter.

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Ibn Mas’ood and the Prophet’s Final Review of the Qur’an

In a small booklet dedicated to a study of the narrated statements regarding the final review of the Qur’an that the Prophet performed with the angel Jibril in the year of his death, sheikh Muhammad Bazmool included the following valuable and clarifying discussion:

المسألة التاسعة : العرضة الأخيرة ، هي قراءة زيد أو قراءة ابن مسعود؟ ـ
Issue #9: The Final Review of the Qur’an, was it in the recitation of Zayd ibn Thabit or the recitation of ibn Mas’ood?

عن شَقِيقُ بْنُ سَلَمَةَ، قَالَ خَطَبَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ فَقَالَ وَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ أَخَذْتُ مِنْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِضْعًا وَسَبْعِينَ سُورَةً، وَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ عَلِمَ أَصْحَابُ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنِّي مِنْ أَعْلَمِهِمْ بِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَمَا أَنَا بِخَيْرِهِمْ‏.‏ قَالَ شَقِيقٌ فَجَلَسْتُ فِي الْحِلَقِ أَسْمَعُ مَا يَقُولُونَ فَمَا سَمِعْتُ رَادًّا يَقُولُ غَيْرَ ذَلِكَ‏.‏ ـ

Shaqeeq ibn Salamah said: ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood addressed us one day and said:

I swear by Allah that I learned seventy-something surahs directly from Allah’s Messenger, and I swear by Allah that the Companions of the Prophet know that I am one of the most knowledgeable of them when it comes to the Qur’an, although I am not the best of them.

and Shaqeeq said, “I sat in the sittings, listening to what was said and I did not hear anyone refuting what he said.”

ولفظ مسلم : عَنْ شَقِيقٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، أَنَّهُ قَالَ ‏{‏ وَمَنْ يَغْلُلْ يَأْتِ بِمَا غَلَّ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ‏}‏ ثُمَّ قَالَ عَلَى قِرَاءَةِ مَنْ تَأْمُرُونِي أَنْ أَقْرَأَ فَلَقَدْ قَرَأْتُ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِضْعًا وَسَبْعِينَ سُورَةً وَلَقَدْ عَلِمَ أَصْحَابُ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنِّي أَعْلَمُهُمْ بِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَلَوْ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّ أَحَدًا أَعْلَمُ مِنِّي لَرَحَلْتُ إِلَيْهِ ‏.‏ قَالَ شَقِيقٌ فَجَلَسْتُ فِي حَلَقِ أَصْحَابِ مُحَمَّدٍ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَمَا سَمِعْتُ أَحَدًا يَرُدُّ ذَلِكَ عَلَيْهِ وَلاَ يَعِيبُهُ ‏.‏ ـ

In the wording of Muslim, Shaqeeq relayed that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood said

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How The Qur’an Describes Itself: Tafsir al-Sa’di

After a brief introduction, Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di opened his book of thematic tafsir with the following chapter on the descriptions of the Qur’an found within the Qur’an itself:

ـ [مقدمة في ذكر أوصاف القرآن العامة الجامعة] ـ

Introduction: Some of the General Features of the Qur’an

في ذكر أوصاف القرآن العامة الجامعة قد وصف الله كتابه بأوصاف جليلة عظيمة تنطبق على جميعه، وتدل أكبر دلالة على أنه الأصل والأساس لجميع العلوم النافعة، والفنون المرشدة لخير الدنيا والآخرة: ـ

Allah has described His Book with many wonderful and tremendous qualities which apply to it in its entirety and which show with the utmost certainty that it is the foundation and the basis for all beneficial knowledge and all rightly-directed practices that lead to good in both this life and in the hereafter.

وصفه بالهدى والرشد، والفرقان، وأنه مبين وتبيان لكل شيء؛ فهو في نفسه هدى، ويهدي الخلق لجميع ما يحتاجونه من أمور دينهم ودنياهم، ويرشدهم إلى كل طريق نافع، ويفرق لهم بين الحق والباطل، والهدى والضلال، وبين أهل السعادة والشقاوة بذكر أوصاف الفريقين، وفيه بيان الأصول والفروع بذكر أدلتها النقلية والعقلية، فوصفه بهذه الأوصاف المطلقة العامة التي لا يشذ عنها شيء في آيات كثيرة. ـ

He described it as “a guidance”, “right direction,” “a criterion”, and that it is clear and a clarification for everything. So it is in-and-of-itself guidance, and it guides the created beings to everything that they need in terms of both their religion and their worldly lives and it directs them to every beneficial path. It shows them the difference between truth and falsehood, between guidance and misguidance, and between the people of ultimate joy and the people of ultimate sorrow through mentioning the qualities of these two groups.

It contains a explanation of both fundamental principles and secondary matters, mentioning evidences both of textual and intellectual natures for these. So Allah characterized the Qur’an completely and unrestrictedly with these qualities, and none of its many ayaat fall outside of these descriptions. Continue reading

Links Between the Beginnings and Ends of Surahs: al-Suyooti

In part of his chapter on the munasabat [connections and links between ayaat and surahs] in his famous handbook on the Qur’anic sciences, Imam al-Suyooti mentioned the following:

من هذا النوع مناسبة فواتح السور وخواتمها ، وقد أفردت فيه جزءا لطيفا سميته مراصد المطالع في تناسب المقاطع والمطالع . ـ

Another type of munasabat are those between the beginning of a surah and its conclusion. I have written a work specifically focused on this category of munasabat entitled Maraasid al-Mataali’ fee Tanaasub al-Maqaati’ w’al-Mataali’.

وانظر إلى سورة القصص كيف بدئت بأمر موسى ونصرته ، وقوله فلن أكون ظهيرا للمجرمين [ القصص : 17 ] . وخروجه من وطنه ، وختمت بأمر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بأن لا يكون ظهيرا للكافرين ، وتسليته عن إخراجه من مكة ، ووعده بالعود إليها لقوله في أول السورة إنا رادوه [ القصص : 7 ] . ـ

Consider how surah al-Qasas begins with with the story of Moosaa, his helping the man in the market, his statement:

فَلَنْ أَكُونَ ظَهِيرًا لِّلْمُجْرِمِينَ

So I will never again be a helper to the criminal wrong-doers [28:17]

and his leaving his homeland. Then it ends with commanding the Prophet to not be a helper to the disbelievers and giving him some consolation for his leaving Mecca. And Allah also gives him a promise that he will return to Mecca in His statement:

إِنَّا رَادُّوهُ

… Indeed, We shall bring him back … [28:7]

قال الزمخشري : وقد جعل الله فاتحة سورة قد أفلح المؤمنون وأورد في خاتمتها إنه لا يفلح الكافرون [ المؤمنون : 117 ] . فشتان ما بين الفاتحة والخاتمة . ـ

al-Zamakhshari said: Allah placed Continue reading