The Virtue of this Ummah over the Previous Nations: Imam al-Shinqitee

The following discussion is an excerpt from a class of the famous mufassir, sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee. The class was delivered in his home to a group of his students. It was recorded, and subsequently transcribed and published in a collection of similar lessons and recorded events. This particular excerpt occurred during a lesson in which sheikh al-Shinqitee was explaining part of surah al-Baqarah, during his discussion of the ayah:

يَا بَنِي إِسْرَ‌ائِيلَ اذْكُرُ‌وا نِعْمَتِيَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأَنِّي فَضَّلْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

O Banu Israa’eel, remember My favor that I have bestowed upon you and that I preferred you over all creation [2:47]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee explained:

وقوله هنا {فَضَّلْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ} ؛ أي : على عالمي زمانكم الذي أنتم فيه ، فلا ينافي أن هذه الأمة التي هي أمة محمد ﷺ أفضل منهم ، كما نصّ الله على ذلك بقوله : {كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ} الآية [آل عمران 110] ، وفي حديث معاوية بن حيدة القشيري عن النبي ﷺ : أَنْتُمْ تُوفُونَ سَبْعِينَ أُمَّةً أَنْتُمْ خَيْرُهَا وَأَكْرَمُهَا عَلَى اللَّهِ . ـ

Allah’s statement here:

 فَضَّلْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

 I preferred you over all creation [2:47]

meaning: over all creation of the time in which they were living, so this does not conflict with the fact that this ummah – which is the ummah of Muhammad (ﷺ) – is the best of nations, as Allah informed us in His statement:

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ‌ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِ‌جَتْ لِلنَّاسِ

You are the best nation brought forth for mankind … [3:110]

…until the end of the ayah. And in the hadeeth of Mu’aawiyah ibn Haidah al-Qushairi that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “You succeeded seventy nations and you are the best of them and the most noble of them in the sight of Allah”. Continue reading

Whoever Denies One Messenger has Denied Them All: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee mentioned the following point of great benefit in part of his tafsir of surah al-Qamar:

من كذب رسولا واحدا فقد كذب جميع المرسلين ، ومن كذب نذيرا واحدا فقد كذب جميع النذر ، لأن أصل دعوة جميع الرسل واحدة ، وهي مضمون لا إله إلا الله كما أوضحه تعالى بقوله : ولقد بعثنا في كل أمة رسولا أن اعبدوا الله واجتنبوا الطاغوت [ 16 \ 36 ] ، وقوله تعالى : وما أرسلنا من قبلك من رسول إلا نوحي إليه أنه لا إله إلا أنا فاعبدون [ 21 \ 25 ] ، وقوله تعالى : وما أرسلنا من قبلك من رسول إلا نوحي إليه أنه لا إله إلا أنا فاعبدون [ 43 \ 45 ] . ـ

Whoever denies one single messenger has denied all of the messengers, and whoever denies one warner has denied all of the warners. This is because the basis of all the messengers’ call was one and the same, which was the substance of Laa ilaaha illAllaah – there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allah. This is as Allah has made clear in His statement:

وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّ‌سُولًا أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّـهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ

And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, (saying), “Worship Allah and avoid all that is worshiped besides Allah [16:36]

And His statement:

وَمَا أَرْ‌سَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّ‌سُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدُونِ

And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, “There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.” [21:25]

And His statement: Continue reading

Ashaab al-Aykah and the People of Shu’aib: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah begins recounts the story of His prophet Shu’aib in surah al-Shu’araa’ by saying:

كَذَّبَ أَصْحَابُ الْأَيْكَةِ الْمُرْسَلِينَ * إِذْ قَالَ لَهُمْ شُعَيْبٌ أَلَا تَتَّقُونَ

The Ashaab al-Aykah denied the messengers * when Shu’aib said to them, “Won’t you have taqwaa?” [26:176-177]

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir mentioned the following point in his discussion of these verses:

 هؤلاء – أعني أصحاب الأيكة – هم أهل مدين على الصحيح . وكان نبي الله شعيب من أنفسهم ، وإنما لم يقل هنا أخوهم شعيب ; لأنهم نسبوا إلى عبادة الأيكة ، وهي شجرة . وقيل : شجر ملتف كالغيضة ، كانوا يعبدونها ; فلهذا لما قال : كذب أصحاب الأيكة المرسلين ، لم يقل : ” إذ قال لهم أخوهم شعيب ” ، وإنما قال : ( إذ قال لهم شعيب ) ، فقطع نسبة الأخوة بينهم ; للمعنى الذي نسبوا إليه ، وإن كان أخاهم نسبا . ومن الناس من لم يتفطن لهذه النكتة ، فظن أن أصحاب الأيكة غير أهل مدين ، فزعم أن شعيبا عليه السلام ، بعثه الله إلى أمتين ، ومنهم من قال : ثلاث أمم . … والصحيح أنهم أمة واحدة ، وصفوا في كل مقام بشيء ; ولهذا وعظ هؤلاء وأمرهم بوفاء المكيال والميزان ، كما في قصة مدين سواء بسواء ، فدل ذلك على أنهم أمة واحدة . ـ

These people – meaning the Ashaab al-Aykah [the People of the Thicket] – are the people of the city of Madyan according to the correct opinion. The prophet of Allah Shu’aib was one of them, and the only reason why he is not referred to here as “their brother Shu’aib” is because here they are being described in relation to their worship of the aykah, which is a sort of tree – and some say it is a twisted sort of tree like a thicket -, which they used to worship.

So it is because of this that when Allah said, “The Ashaab al-Aykah denied the messengers“, He did not then say, “when their brother Shu’aib said to them…”, but instead said, “when Shu’aib said to them…“. So He cut off the relationship of brotherhood between Shu’aib and his people in the sense of them being referred to as “his people” even though he was in fact related to them as their brother. Continue reading

Belief in the Messengers in brief: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In part of his tafsir of surah al-Baqarah (2:253), sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di listed a summary of some of the salient points regarding the prophets and messengers:

فائدة: كما يجب على المكلف معرفته بربه، فيجب عليه معرفته برسله، ما يجب لهم ويمتنع عليهم ويجوز في حقهم، ويؤخذ جميع ذلك مما وصفهم الله به في آيات متعددة. ـ

A point of benefit: Just as knowledge of one’s Lord is obligatory upon every legally-responsible adult, likewise knowledge of His messengers is also obligatory upon him – what is obligated towards them, what is prohibited regarding them and what is permitted concerning them. And all of that is taken from what Allah has described them with in numerous ayaat.

منها: أنهم رجال لا نساء، من أهل القرى لا من أهل البوادي، وأنهم مصطفون مختارون، جمع الله لهم من الصفات الحميدة ما به الاصطفاء والاختيار، وأنهم سالمون من كل ما يقدح في رسالتهم من كذب وخيانة وكتمان وعيوب مزرية، وأنهم لا يقرون على خطأ فيما يتعلق بالرسالة والتكليف، وأن الله تعالى خصهم بوحيه . ـ

And among these descriptions are:

-They there are men and not women[1], from the inhabitants of townships and not from the people of the wilderness[2].

– And they were chosen[3] and selected[4]; Allah combined in them praiseworthy traits which He chose and selected[5]. Continue reading

The Story of Ayyub: Imam al-Sa’di

In his book of thematic tafsir, Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di devoted a sizable portion to compiling the various ayaat around different prophets into summarized narratives, as well as mentioning select benefits derived from these ayaat. What follows in his brief treatment of the story of the prophet Ayyub (Job):

قصة أيوب عليه الصلاة السلام

The Story of Ayyub (peace and blessing be upon him)

قصة أيوب عليه الصلاة السلام كان أيوب من أنبياء بني إسرائيل، ومن الأصفياء الكرام، وقد ذكره الله في كتابه، وأثنى عليه بالخصال الحميدة عموما، وبالصبر على البلاء خصوصا؛ فإن الله تعالى ابتلاه بولده وأهله وماله، ثم بجسده، فأصابه من البلاء ما لم يصب أحدا من الخلق، فصبر لأمر الله ولم يزل منيبا لله. ـ

The Story of Ayyub (peace and blessing be upon him): Ayyub was one of the prophets of Banu Israa’eel, and he was one of their most exceptional and honorable ones. Allah mentioned him in His Book and commended him for his praiseworthy characteristics in general, and for his steadfast patience in the face of trials in particular. For Allah subjected him to trials dealing with his children and his family and his wealth, and then with his own body. So Allah afflicted him with trials the likes of which none amongst the creation had previously been afflicted with. But he exercised steadfast patience upon the command of Allah and he did not cease turning back to Allah.

ولما تطاول به المرض العظيم، ونسيه الصاحب والحميم نادى ربه: {أَنِّي مَسَّنِيَ الضُّرُّ وَأَنْتَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ} [الأنبياء: 83] فقيل له: {ارْكُضْ بِرِجْلِكَ} [ص: 42] فركض، فنبعت بركضته عين ماء بارد، فقيل له: اشرب منها واغتسل، ففعل ذلك، فأذهب الله ما في باطنه وظاهره من البلاء، ثم أعاد الله له أهله وماله، وأعطاه من النعم والخيرات شيئا كثيرا، وصار بهذا الصبر قدوة للصابرين، وسلوة للمبتلين، وعبرة للمعتبرين . ـ

And when his grave illness continued on at length and his companions and close friends forgot him, he called out to his Lord:

 أَنِّي مَسَّنِيَ الضُّرُّ‌ وَأَنتَ أَرْ‌حَمُ الرَّ‌احِمِينَ

Indeed, adversity has touched me, and you are the Most Merciful of the merciful ones! [21:83]

So it was said to him: Continue reading

What is the wisdom of abrogating a command before it can be acted on?: Imam al-Shinqitee

In a session of tafsir delivered at his home which was recorded by his son and subsequently transribed, Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee discussed the following question:

هل يجوز النسخ قبل التمكن من الفعل أو لا يجوز ؟ والجماهير من العلماء على أنه جائز وواقع ، ومن أمثلته نسخ خمس وأربعين صلاة ليلية الإسراء بعد أن فرضت خسمسين ، ونُسخ منها خمس وأربعين بينما أُقرت خمساً ، ومن أمثلته قوله جل وعلا في قصة ذبح إبراهيم لولده : <  وَفَدَيْنَاهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ > [الصفات 108] ؛ لأنه أمره أن يذبح ولده ، ونسخ هذا الأمر قبل التمكن من الفعل ، والتحقيق أن هذا جائز وواقع ، ولا شك أن فيه سؤالاً معروفاً وهو أن يقول طالب العلم : إذا كان الحكم يشرع ويُنسخ قبل العمل فما الحكمة في تشريعه الأول إذا كان ينسخ قبل العمل به ؟  ـ

Is the abrogation of a command before it is able to be carried out possible or impossible? The majority of the scholars hold the position that it is possible and that it actually happens, and one of the examples of this is the abrogation of forty-five prayers on the night of the Night Journey after fifty had been made obligatory and forty-five of them were abrogated, leaving only five remaining. And another example of this is Allah’s statement regarding the story of Ibrahim’s sacrificing his son:

وَفَدَيْنَاهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ

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

For Allah commanded Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, but He abrogated this command before Ibrahim was able to enact it. So the conclusion is that this is both possible and it occurs. And undoubtedly there is a well-known question regarding this, which is that the student of knowledge asks, “If a ruling is legislated and then abrogated before being acted upon, then what is the reasoning in its being legislated in the first place if it is abrogated prior to being carried out?” Continue reading

The Universal Messenger: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote in his well-known book of tafsir:

قوله تعالى : وما أرسلنا من رسول إلا بلسان قومه ليبين لهم فيضل الله من يشاء . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَمَا أَرْ‌سَلْنَا مِن رَّ‌سُولٍ إِلَّا بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمْ ۖ فَيُضِلُّ اللَّـهُ مَن يَشَاءُ

And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them, and Allah sends astray [thereby] whom He wills [14:4]

بين الله تعالى في هذه الآية الكريمة أنه لم يرسل رسولا إلا بلغة قومه ; لأنه لم يرسل رسولا إلا إلى قومه دون غيرهم ، ولكنه بين في مواضع أخر أن نبينا صلى الله عليه وسلم أرسل إلى جميع الخلائق دون اختصاص بقومه ولا بغيرهم ، كقوله تعالى : قل ياأيها الناس إني رسول الله إليكم جميعا [ 7 \ 158 ] ، وقوله : تبارك الذي نزل الفرقان على عبده ليكون للعالمين نذيرا [ 25 \ 1 ] ، وقوله : وما أرسلناك إلا كافة للناس الآية [ 34 \ 28 ] إلى غير ذلك من الآيات الدالة على عموم رسالته لأهل كل لسان ، فهو صلى الله عليه وسلم يجب عليه إبلاغ أهل كل لسان ، ـ

In this noble ayah Allah clarified that He did not send any messenger except with the language of his people, for He did not send any messenger except to his own people to the exclusion of any others. However, He also clarified elsewhere that our Prophet (ﷺ) was sent to all of the created beings rather than being exclusively for his people and not to others. For instance, His statement:

قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي رَ‌سُولُ اللَّـهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعًا

Say, [O Muhammad], “O mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to you all” [7:158]

And His statement: Continue reading

Why Allah began listing the prophets with Nuh: Tafsir al-Baghawi

Allah said in surah al-Nisaa’:

إِنَّا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ كَمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ نُوحٍ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ مِن بَعْدِهِ ۚ وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ إِبْرَ‌اهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَعِيسَىٰ وَأَيُّوبَ وَيُونُسَ وَهَارُ‌ونَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ ۚ وَآتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ زَبُورً‌ا

Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Nuh and the prophets after him. And we revealed to Ibrahim, Ismaa’eel, Ishaaq, Ya’qub, al-Asbaat, ‘Eesaa, Ayyub, Yunus, Haaroon, and Sulaiman, and to Dawud We gave the Zabur. [4:163]

In part of his commentary on this ayah, Imam al-Baghawi made the following point:

وأنزل : ( إنا أوحينا إليك كما أوحينا إلى نوح والنبيين من بعده ) فذكر عدة من الرسل الذين أوحى إليهم ، وبدأ بذكر نوح عليه السلام لأنه كان أبا البشر مثل آدم عليه السلام ، قال الله تعالى : ” وجعلنا ذريته هم الباقين ” ( الصافات – 77 ) ولأنه أول نبي من أنبياء الشريعة ، وأول نذير على الشرك ، وأول من عذبت أمته لردهم دعوته ، وأهلك أهل الأرض بدعائه وكان أطول الأنبياء [ ص: 311 ] عمرا وجعلت معجزته في نفسه ، لأنه عمر ألف سنة فلم تسقط له سن ولم تشب له شعرة ولم تنتقص له قوة ، ولم يصبر نبي على أذى قومه ما صبر هو على طول عمره . ـ

Allah revealed:

إِنَّا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ كَمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ نُوحٍ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ مِن بَعْدِهِ

Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Nuh and the prophets after him… [4:163]

So He mentioned a number of the messenger to whom He gave divine revelation and He began by mentioning Nuh (‘alaih al-salaam) because he was a father to mankind, similar to Adam (‘alaih al-salaam). Allah said [regarding Nuh]: Continue reading

Ibrahim’s interactions with his father: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

In surah Maryam, Allah recounts part of the story of Ibrahim and his calling his father and his people to al-Tawheed while he was still a youth. Commenting on part of this story, Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following:

قوله تعالى : قال أراغب أنت عن آلهتي ياإبراهيم لئن لم تنته لأرجمنك واهجرني مليا قال سلام عليك سأستغفر لك ربي إنه كان بي حفيا

Allah’s statement:

قَالَ أَرَ‌اغِبٌ أَنتَ عَنْ آلِهَتِي يَا إِبْرَ‌اهِيمُ ۖ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهِ لَأَرْ‌جُمَنَّكَ ۖ وَاهْجُرْ‌نِي مَلِيًّا * قَالَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ ۖ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ‌ لَكَ رَ‌بِّي ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّا

[His father] said, “Have you no desire for my gods, O Ibrahim? If you do not desist, I will surely stone you, so avoid me for a prolonged time.” * [Ibrahim] said, “Peace be upon you. I will ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. Indeed, He is ever gracious to me. [19:46-47]

بين الله جل وعلا في هاتين الآيتين الكريمتين : أن إبراهيم لما نصح أباه النصيحة المذكورة مع ما فيها من الرفق واللين ، وإيضاح الحق والتحذير من عبادة ما لا يسمع ولا يبصر ، ومن عذاب الله تعالى وولاية الشيطان – خاطبه هذا الخطاب العنيف ، وسماه باسمه ولم يقل له ” يا بني ” في مقابلة قوله له ” يا أبت ” وأنكر عليه أنه راغب عن عبادة الأوثان ، أي : معرض عنها لا يريدها ; لأنه لا يعبد إلا الله وحده جل وعلا ، وهدده بأنه إن لم ينته عما يقوله له ليرجمنه ) قيل بالحجارة وقيل باللسان شتما ( والأول أظهر ، ثم أمره بهجره مليا أي : زمانا طويلا . ـ

In these two noble ayaat Allah clarified that when Ibrahim advised his father with the aforementioned sincere advice [19:42-45] along with what it contained of gentleness and softness, as well as making the truth clear and warning against the worship of those things which can neither hear nor see, and against the punishment of Allah and the alliance of the shaytaan – then his father addressed him with a forceful address and called him by his name rather than saying “O my dear son” to him in response to Ibrahim’s saying “O my dear father” to him, and he rebuked him for his being averse to the worship of idols – meaning, turning away from them and not desiring them since Ibrahim did not worship anything except Allah alone. And his father threatened him that if he did not desist from what he was saying, then he would certainly assault him – it is said with stoning and it is said with abusive speech, and the first opinion is what is apparent. Then his father ordered him to leave him malee’an – meaning a long period of time.

ثم بين أن إبراهيم قابل أيضا جوابه العنيف بغاية الرفق واللين في قوله : قال سلام عليك سأستغفر لك ربي الآية [ 19 \ 47 ] ، وخطاب إبراهيم لأبيه الجاهل بقوله : سلام عليك قد بين جل وعلا أنه خطاب عباده المؤمنين للجهال إذا خاطبوهم ، كما قال تعالى : وعباد الرحمن الذين يمشون على الأرض هونا وإذا خاطبهم الجاهلون قالوا سلاما [ 25 \ 63 ] ، وقال تعالى : وإذا سمعوا اللغو أعرضوا عنه وقالوا لنا أعمالنا ولكم أعمالكم سلام عليكم لا نبتغي الجاهلين [ 28 \ 55 ] ، ـ

Then Allah also clarified that Ibrahim responded to his father’s forceful answer with the utmost of gentleness and softness in his own statement:

قَالَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ ۖ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ‌ لَكَ رَ‌بِّي ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّا

[Ibrahim] said, “Peace be upon you. I will ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. Indeed, He is ever gracious to me. [19:47]

And Ibrahim responded to his ignorant father with his own statement of, “peace be upon you” – Allah has clarified that that is the speech of the his believing slaves to the ignorant ones when the address them, just as He said: Continue reading

The Meaning of the Title “al-Maseeh”

In his book of tafsir, Imam al-Shawkaani brought the following discussion about the meaning of the term al-Maseeh (the Messiah). Imam al-Shawkaani generally borrowed heavily – even word for word – from Imam al-Qurtubi’s linguistic discussions, often summarizing and simplifying them into a list format. Some supplementary notes from al-Qurtubi will be mentioned here in brackets [] for the sake of clarity:

[والمسيح لقب لعيسى ومعناه الصديق ; قاله إبراهيم النخعي . ـ]

[al-Maseeh is a title for ‘Eesaa (Jesus) and its meaning is al-Siddeeq (“the truthful one”) – this is what Ibrahim al-Nakha’ee said.]

والمسيح اختلف فيه مماذا أخذ ؟ فقيل : من المسح ; لأنه مسح الأرض ; أي : ذهب فيها فلم يستكن بكن ، وقيل : إنه كان لا يمسح ذا عاهة إلا برئ ، فسمي مسيحا ، فهو على هذين فعيل بمعنى فاعل ، ـ

al-Maseeh – there is differing as to where it was derived. So it is said: (it was derived) from al-mash (wiping), for he swept over the earth, meaning he traversed over it and did not take residence in any dwelling place.

And it is said: It was the case that he would not touch someone with an infirmity except that they would be cured, so he was called Maseeh.

So according to these two meaning, it takes the form of an adjective with the meaning of an active participle. Continue reading