Explanation of Ayah al-Kursi: Imam al-Sa’di

In addition to his famous complete tafsir of the entire Qur’an, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di also authored a more condensed and thematic work of tafsir entitled Taysir al-Lateed al-Mannaan. Rather than going through the Qur’an ayah by ayah, in this work he selected certain ayaat which could serve to discuss important topics. Although this work is much shorted than his complete tafsir, the ayaat that al-Sa’di does explain are often discussed in greater detail. What follows is the sheikh’s explanation of Ayah al-Kursi from this work:

ـ {اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَلَا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ} [البقرة: 255] ـ

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَلَا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ

Allah – none has the right be worshiped except Him, al-Hayy al-Qayyoom. Neither tiredness nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. Who can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is ahead of you and what is behind you, and they grasp nothing of His knowledge except what He wills. His foot-stool extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding them. And He is al-‘Alee al-‘Atheem. [2:255]

أخبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أن هذه الآية أعظم آيات القرآن على الإطلاق، وأنها تحفظ قارئها من الشياطين والشرور كلها، لما احتوت عليه من معاني التوحيد والعظمة، وسعة صفات الكمال لله تعالى . ـ

The Prophet informed us that this ayah is absolutely the greatest ayah in the Qur’an and that it protects one who recites it from the shaytaans and all evils. That is due to the messages of al-tawheed, greatness and the great and perfect attributes of Allah that it contains.

فأخبر أنه الله الذي له جميع معاني الألوهية، وأنه لا يستحق الألوهية غيره، فألوهية غيره وعبادة غيره باطلة ضارة في الحال والمآل؛ وعبادته وحده لا شريك له هي الحق الموصلة إلى كل كمال؛ وأنه الحي كامل الحياة . ـ

Allah informs us that He is Allah, the One who possesses all the meanings of divinity and that there are no others who deserve to be deified besides Him. Any deification or worship of others is groundless and harmful both in the short term and in the long run. Worshiping Him alone without any partners is the truth which leads to every type of completeness, and He is al-Hayy – the One with the Utmost Complete Aliveness.

 فمن كمال حياته أنه السميع البصير القدير، المحيط علمه بكل شيء، الكامل من كل وجه ، ف {الْحَيُّ} [البقرة: 255] يتضمن جميع الصفات الذاتية، و {الْقَيُّومُ} [البقرة: 255] الذي قام بنفسه، واستغنى عن جميع المخلوقات، وقام بها فأوجدها وأبقاها، وأمدها بكل ما تحتاج إليه في بقائها . ـ

One part of His Utmost Aliveness is that He is the al-Samee’ – the One who hears -, al-Baseer – the One who sees -, al-Qadeer – the Omnipotent One. His knowledge encompasses everything and He is perfect in every way. So

الْحَيُّ

al-Hayy

encompasses all of the attributes of Allah’s being. Continue reading

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Why do the Mufassiroon differ?: Ibn Taymiyah

One section of the book Majmoo’ al-Fataawa ibn Taymiyah begins with the following question:

وسئل رحمه الله عن قوله صلى الله عليه وسلم { من فسر القرآن برأيه فليتبوأ مقعده من النار } ” فاختلاف المفسرين في آية واحدة إن كان بالرأي فكيف النجاة ؟ وإن لم يكن بالرأي فكيف وقع الاختلاف والحق لا يكون في طرفي نقيض أفتونا . ؟

He was asked – may Allah have mercy on him – about the statement of the Prophet, “Whoever interprets the Qur’an according to his own opinion, then let him take his seat in the Hell-Fire”:

If the different positions that the hold mufassiroon regarding certain ayah arose due to their personal opinions, then how can they be saved? Or if these different positions where not a product of their own personal opinions then how did these different opinions come to be when the truth is not at odds with itself? Won’t you give us a verdict?

Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah responded by saying:

فأجاب رحمه الله تعالى ينبغي أن يعلم أن الاختلاف الواقع من المفسرين وغيرهم على وجهين : ” أحدهما ” ليس فيه تضاد وتناقض ; بل يمكن أن يكون كل منهما حقا وإنما هو اختلاف تنوع أو اختلاف في الصفات أو العبادات وعامة الاختلاف الثابت عن مفسري السلف من الصحابة والتابعين هو من هذا الباب فإن الله سبحانه إذا ذكر في القرآن اسما مثل قوله : { اهدنا الصراط المستقيم } فكل من المفسرين يعبر عن الصراط المستقيم بعبارة يدل بها على بعض صفاته وكل ذلك حق بمنزلة ما يسمى الله ورسوله وكتابه بأسماء كل اسم منها يدل على صفة من صفاته فيقول بعضهم : { الصراط المستقيم } كتاب الله أو اتباع كتاب الله [ ص: 382 ] ويقول الآخر : { الصراط المستقيم } هو الإسلام أو دين الإسلام ويقول الآخر : { الصراط المستقيم } هو السنة والجماعة ويقول الآخر : { الصراط المستقيم } طريق العبودية أو طريق الخوف والرجاء والحب وامتثال المأمور واجتناب المحظور أو متابعة الكتاب والسنة أو العمل بطاعة الله أو نحو هذه الأسماء والعبارات . ـ

One needs to understand that the differing which occurs among the mufassiroon – and among others as well – occurs in two ways.

First, there is differing which does not actually involve any opposition or contradiction. In fact, it is possible that both of the different stances are true and that it is only a differing of categorization or a differing in descriptions or acts of worship. Out of what has been authentically transmitted, the bulk of differing among the scholars of tafsir of the salaf, namely the sahabah and the taabi’oon, falls into this category. For when Allah mentions a term in the Qur’an such as His statement: Continue reading

Explanation of Ayah al-Kursi: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

Allah says the following in surah al-Baqarah, in the ayah known as Ayah al-Kursi:

اللَّـهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ ۚ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ ۚ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ ۚ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ ۖ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ ۚ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ ۖ وَلَا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ

Allah – none has the right be worshiped except Him, al-Hayy al-Qayyoom. Neither tiredness nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. Who can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is ahead of you and what is behind you, and they grasp nothing of His knowledge except what He wills. His foot-stool extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding them. And He is al-‘Alee al-‘Atheem. [2:255]

The authors of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar, an abbreviated work of salafi tafsir written in modern times, provided the following explanation of this ayah. The book al-Tafsir al-Muyassar is written as commentary in the margins of the Madinah Mushaf, so the explanations function as a sort of gloss or almost like a paraphrase of the ayah with some additional comments:

الله الذي لا يستحق الألوهية والعبودية إلا هو، الحيُّ الذي له جميع معاني الحياة الكاملة كما يليق بجلاله، القائم على كل شيء، لا تأخذه سِنَة أي: نعاس، ولا نوم، كل ما في السموات وما في الأرض ملك له، ولا يتجاسر أحد أن يشفع عنده إلا بإذنه، محيط علمه بجميع الكائنات ماضيها وحاضرها ومستقبلها، يعلم ما بين أيدي الخلائق من الأمور المستقبلة، وما خلفهم من الأمور الماضية، ولا يَطَّلعُ أحد من الخلق على شيء من علمه إلا بما أعلمه الله وأطلعه عليه. وسع كرسيه السموات والأرض، والكرسي: هو موضع قدمي الرب- جل جلاله- ولا يعلم كيفيته إلا الله سبحانه، ولا يثقله سبحانه حفظهما، وهو العلي بذاته وصفاته على جميع مخلوقاته، الجامع لجميع صفات العظمة والكبرياء. وهذه الآية أعظم آية في القرآن، وتسمى: آية الكرسي. ـ

Allah, the One besides Whom no one else deserves to be deified or worshiped.

He is al-Hayy – the Ever-Living – Who exemplifies every aspect of complete life in a manner befitting His majesty. He is the One presiding over everything. Continue reading

Two Types of Allah’s “With-ness” in Context: Imam al-Sa’di

One of the many beneficial books authored by Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di is Tanbeehaat al-Lateefah, an explanation of ibn Taymiyah’s famous al-‘Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah. The following is a brief excerpt from that work dealing with better understanding the places in the Qur’an where Allah mentions His “with-ness”:

وإذا أردت أن تعرف هل المراد المعية العامة أو الخاصة، فانظر إلى سياق الآيات: فإن كان المقام مقام تخويف ومحاسبة للعباد على أعمالهم، وحث على المراقبة، فإن المعية عامة، مثل قوله: {مَا يَكُونُ مِنْ نَجْوَى ثَلَاثَةٍ} [المجادلة: 7] الآية، وإن كان المقام مقام لطف وعناية من الله بأنبيائه وأصفيائه، وقد رتبت المعية على الاتصاف بالأوصاف الحميدة، فإن المعية معية خاصة، وهو أغلب إطلاقاتها في القرآن، مثل: {أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الْمُتَّقِينَ} [التوبة: 123] {إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ} [البقرة: 153] {لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا} [التوبة: 40] ونحوها.ـ

If you want to know whether the intended meaning of Allah’s with-ness in an ayah is general or specific, then look at the context of the ayah. If it comes in a place of intimidation and taking the slave to account for his actions or inciting him to take himself to account then it is a general with-ness, such as His statement:

مَا يَكُونُ مِن نَّجْوَىٰ ثَلَاثَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ رَابِعُهُمْ وَلَا خَمْسَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ سَادِسُهُمْ وَلَا أَدْنَىٰ مِن ذَٰلِكَ وَلَا أَكْثَرَ إِلَّا هُوَ مَعَهُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كَانُوا ۖ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

There is no private conversation of three except that He is the fourth of them, nor of five except that He is the sixth of them – and no less than that nor more except that He is with them wherever they are. Then on the Day of Resurrection He will inform them of what they did. Indeed Allah is all knowing of all things. [58:7]

But if it comes in a place of gentleness and care from Allah towards His prophets and chosen ones and the with-ness is stipulated by some praiseworthy quality, then this is the specific type of with-ness, which is the more commonly-found type in the Qur’an. Examples include: Continue reading

The Qur’anic Methods of Calling People to Tawheed: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

In one of Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan‘s written works in the field of ‘aqeedah, the sheikh devoted a section to listing a number of methods that Allah uses throughout the Qur’an to invite people to worship Him alone. He mentions a total of eleven different methods, providing examples for each type:

أساليب القرآن في الدعوة إلى توحيد الإلهية
The Methods Used in the Qur’an to Call People to the Sole Worship of Allah

لما كان توحيد الربوبية قد أقر به الناس بموجب فطرهم ونظرهم في الكون، وكان الإقرار به وحده لا يكفي للإيمان بالله ولا ينجي صاحبه من العذاب، ركزت دعوات الرسل على توحيد الإلهية، خصوصا دعوة خاتم الرسل نبينا محمد عليه وعليهم أفضل السلام، فكان يطالب الناس بقول‏:‏ لا إله إلا الله، المتضمنة لعبادة الله، وترك عبادة ما سواه، فكانوا ينفرون منه ويقولون‏:‏ ‏{‏أَجَعَلَ الْآلِهَةَ إِلَهًا وَاحِدًا إِنَّ هَذَا لَشَيْءٌ عُجَابٌ‏}‏ ‏.‏ ـ

Since al-Tawheed al-Rububiyyah – Allah’s exclusive role as Lord of all creation – is something which people accept, as is necessitated by their innate disposition towards it and their observation of this universe, and because the mere acceptance of it is not equivalent to eemaan in Allah nor does it alone save anyone from eternal punishment, then the calls of the messengers were centered around and concentrated on al-Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah – Allah’s exclusive right to be worshiped by His created beings. This was all the more emphasized in the call of the seal of the messengers, our Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), for he sought for the people to profess Laa ilaaha illallaah – there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah -, a phrase that entails worshiping Allah and leaving off the worship of anything besides Him. But the people were averse to this, saying

‏أَجَعَلَ الْآلِهَةَ إِلَهًا وَاحِدًا إِنَّ هَذَا لَشَيْءٌ عُجَابٌ‏

Has he made the gods all into one God? Indeed, this is something astounding! [38:5]

وحاولوا مع الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم أن يترك هذه الدعوة ويخلي بينهم وبين عبادة الأصنام، وبذلوا في ذلك معه كل الوسائل؛ بالترغيب تارة وبالترهيب تارة، وهو عليه الصلاة والسلام يقول‏:‏ ‏”‏والله، لو وضعوا الشمس بيميني، والقمر بشمالي، على أن أترك هذا الأمر؛ لا أتركه حتى يظهره الله أو أهلك دونه‏”‏‏.‏ ـ

The people made every effort to make the Messenger give up this call and leave them to worship their idols. They took every means at their disposal to reach this end, sometimes offering enticements and other times with threats and intimidation. But the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I swear by Allah, if they were to place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left on the condition that I abandon this cause, I would not leave it until Allah grants it victory or I perish therein.”

وكانت آيات الله تتنزل عليه بالدعوة إلى هذا التوحيد، والرد على شبهات المشركين، وإقامة البراهين على بطلان ما هم عليه‏.‏ ـ

Allah’s verses would be sent to him in order to call the people of al-Tawheed, to rebut the doubts of the mushrikoon, and to firmly establish proofs of the futility and falsehood of what they were following.

وقد تنوعت أساليب القرآن في الدعوة إلى توحيد الإلهية، وها نحن نذكر جملة منها؛ فمن ذلك‏:‏ ـ

The Qur’an uses a variety of methods to call people to al-Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah – Allah’s exclusive right to be worshiped – and here we will mention a number of them. These methods include:

Continue reading

The Qur’an Addresses Multiple Christian Creeds: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah says in part of surah al-Nisaa’:

يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلَا تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّـهِ إِلَّا الْحَقَّ ۚ إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللَّـهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ ۖ فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرُسُلِهِ ۖ وَلَا تَقُولُوا ثَلَاثَةٌ ۚ انتَهُوا خَيْرًا لَّكُمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا اللَّـهُ إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ سُبْحَانَهُ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ ۘ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّـهِ وَكِيلًا

O People of the Book, do not go to extremes in your religion! And do not say anything about Allah other than the truth! The Messiah, ‘Eesaa the son of Maryam is nothing other than a Messenger of Allah, and a word of His which He sent to Maryam, and a soul from Him. So believe in Allah and in His Messengers. And do not say “three”. Stop! That is better for you! Allah is only one god; exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. And Allah is sufficient as a disposer of affairs [4:171]

In his famous book of commentary on the Qur’an, al-haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir mentioned the following words in the midst of his explanation of this ayah. These words should serve to rebut the notion spread by some Christians that the Qur’an is confused about Christian beliefs. On the contrary, this passage demonstrates that the Qur’an addresses different beliefs of different Christian sects in different places:

وقوله : ( فآمنوا بالله ورسله ) أي : فصدقوا بأن الله واحد أحد ، لا صاحبة له ولا ولد ، واعلموا وتيقنوا بأن عيسى عبد الله ورسوله ; ولهذا قال : ( ولا تقولوا ثلاثة ) أي : لا تجعلوا عيسى وأمه مع الله شريكين ، تعالى الله عن ذلك علوا كبيرا . ـ

Allah’s statement:

فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرُسُلِهِ

So have eemaan in Allah and His messengers

meaning: believe that Allah is One, singular with neither partner nor offspring, and know and have certainty that ‘Eesaa is a slave of Allah and His messenger. And so Allah says:

وَلَا تَقُولُوا ثَلَاثَةٌ

And do not say “three”

meaning: Do not make ‘Eesaa and his mother as two partners alongside Allah – high and exalted is Allah above such a thing. Continue reading

The Themes and Contents of Surah Maryam: ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah wrote the following words discussing the major themes of surah Maryam and outlining its contents. We would recommend reading this article with a Qur’an close by in order to better follow the different themes and topics mentioned:

سورة مريم قال شيخ الإسلام رحمه الله فصل ” سورة مريم ” مضمونها : تحقيق عبادة الله وحده وأن خواص الخلق هم عباده فكل كرامة ودرجة رفيعة في هذه الإضافة وتضمنت الرد على الغالين الذين زادوا في النسبة إلى الله حتى نسبوا إليه عيسى بطريق الولادة والرد على المفرطين في تحقيق العبادة وما فيها من الكرامة وجحدوا نعم الله التي أنعم بها على عباده المصطفين . ـ

Surah Maryam includes the following topics:

Affirming worship for Allah alone, and that the best of creation were those who devotedly worshiped Him. For every honor and elevated station lies in this relationship of the creation worshiping the Creator.

This surah also includes a rebuttal of those fanatical people who claim various additional and higher forms of relationship with Allah, to such an extent that they link ‘Eesaa (Jesus) directly to Him as an offspring.

It also includes a refutation of those who go to extremes in their affirmation of sevanthood and who deny the various blessings – such as the miracles given to righteous people – which Allah has bestowed upon His chosen servants.

افتتحها بقوله : { ذكر رحمة ربك عبده زكريا } وندائه ربه نداء خفيا وموهبته له يحيى ثم قصة مريم وابنها وقوله : { إني عبد الله } . . إلخ بين فيها الرد على الغلاة في المسيح وعلى الجفاة النافين عنه ما أنعم الله به عليه ; ثم أمر نبيه بذكر إبراهيم وما دعا إليه من عبادة الله وحده ونهيه إياه عن عبادة الشيطان وموهبته له إسحاق ويعقوب وأنه جعل له لسان صدق عليا وهو الثناء الحسن وأخبر عن يحيى وعيسى وإبراهيم ببر الوالدين مع التوحيد وذكر موسى وموهبته له أخاه هارون نبيا كما وهب يحيى لزكريا وعيسى لمريم وإسحاق لإبراهيم . ـ

Allah begins this surah by saying:

ذِكْرُ رَحْمَتِ رَبِّكَ عَبْدَهُ زَكَرِيَّا

a mention of the mercy of your Lord to His servant Zakariyyah [19:2]

and his calling His Lord with a private supplication, and Allah’s granting him Yahya, and then the story of Maryam and her son, and that son’s statement:

إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّـهِ

Indeed, I am a servant of Allah… [19:30]

until the end of the story. In this part of the surah, Allah makes a clear refutation against those who go to extremes regarding the Messiah, as well as rebutting those ill-mannered ones who deny the various blessings which Allah did bestow upon him. Continue reading

Khutbah on the Fundamentals of the Religion: Imam al-Sa’di

In a collection of more than four hundred sermons from sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di, he delivered the following khutbah on the foundational beliefs of Ahl al-Sunnah w’al-Jamaa’ah:

خطبة في أصول الدين
Khutbah on the Fundamentals of the Religion

الحمد لله المعروف بأسمائه وصفاته ، المتحبب إلى خلقه بجزيل هباته . ـ

All praise belongs to Allah, the One who is known by His names and attributes and beloved to His creation due to the His overflowing bestowals.

وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله ، وحده لا شريك له ، المتفرد بالألوهية والوحدانية ، المتوحد في العظمة والكبرياء والمجد والربوبية . ـ

I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allah alone with no partners. He is One who is absolutely unique in terms of deity and singleness, singular in grandeur, greatness, majesty and Lordship.

وأشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله ، أكمل الخلق في مراتب العبودية ، وأعلاهم في كل خصلة حميدة ، فهو خير البرية ، اللهم صل وسلم على محمد ، وعلى آله وأصحابه الأخيار ، وعلى التابعين لهم بالأقوال والأفعال والإقرار . ـ

And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger; the most complete created-being in the various levels of servitude, and the most elevated of them in every praiseworthy quality, for he is the best of the created-beings. O Allah, grant Your peace and blessings upon Muhammad and upon his family and his excellent companions, and upon all those who follow them in speech, action and confession.

أما بعد : أيها الناس ، اتقوا الله تعالى ، واعلموا أن الله خلقكم وأمركم بمعرفته وعبادته ، وحثكم على إخلاص الدين وتحقيق طاعته . قال تعالى : { وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ } . وقال: { يَاأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ } ، وقال: { اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ وَمِنَ الْأَرْضِ مِثْلَهُنَّ يَتَنَزَّلُ الْأَمْرُ بَيْنَهُنَّ لِتَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ أَحَاطَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عِلْمًا } ، وقال : { فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنْبِكَ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مُتَقَلَّبَكُمْ وَمَثْوَاكُمْ } . ـ

To proceed: O mankind, exercise taqwa of Allah, and know that Allah created you and commanded you to know and worship Him, and He urges you to make your religion sincerely and completely for Him and to make obedience to Him a reality in your lives. He said: Continue reading

Eemaan is Belief, Statements, and Actions: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah begins surah al-Baqarah with the following words:

الم * ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ * الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ … ـ

Alif Lam Meem * This is the Book about which there is no doubt. A guidance for the muttaqoon * those who believe in the Unseen … [2:1-3]

In many of the books of tafsir, explanation of terms or important topics will usually be placed at the first mention of that thing in the mushaf unless there is some motivating reason to delay it. Here, al-haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir took the first instance of a derivative of the word al-eemaan to define and discuss it:

قال أبو جعفر الرازي ، عن العلاء بن المسيب بن رافع ، عن أبي إسحاق ، عن أبي الأحوص ، عن عبد الله ، قال : الإيمان التصديق . وقال علي بن أبي طلحة وغيره ، عن ابن عباس ، ( يؤمنون ) يصدقون . وقال معمر عن الزهري : الإيمان العمل . وقال أبو جعفر الرازي ، عن الربيع بن أنس : ( يؤمنون ) يخشون . ـ

Abu Ja’far al-Razi reported that … ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood said, “al-Eemaan is belief”.

And ‘Ali ibn Abi Talhah and others transmitted that ibn ‘Abbaas said, “yu’minoon means: they believed”.

Mu’mar said that al-Zuhri said, “al-Eemaan is action.”

And Abu Ja’far al-Razi recorded that al-Rabee’ ibn Anas said, “yu’minoon means: they feared”.

قال ابن جرير وغيره : والأولى أن يكونوا موصوفين بالإيمان بالغيب قولا واعتقادا وعملا قال : وقد تدخل الخشية لله في معنى الإيمان ، الذي هو تصديق القول بالعمل ، والإيمان كلمة جامعة للإقرار بالله وكتبه ورسله ، وتصديق الإقرار بالفعل . قلت : أما الإيمان في اللغة فيطلق على التصديق المحض ، وقد يستعمل في القرآن ، والمراد به ذلك ، كما قال تعالى : ( يؤمن بالله ويؤمن للمؤمنين ) [ التوبة : 61 ] ، وكما قال إخوة يوسف لأبيهم : ( وما أنت بمؤمن لنا ولو كنا صادقين ) [ يوسف : 17 ] ، وكذلك إذا استعمل مقرونا مع الأعمال ؛ كقوله : ( إلا الذين آمنوا وعملوا الصالحات ) [ الانشقاق : 25 ، والتين : 6 ] ، فأما إذا استعمل مطلقا فالإيمان الشرعي المطلوب لا يكون إلا اعتقادا وقولا وعملا . ـ

Ibn Jarir [al-Tabari] and others said, “The most proper understanding is that these people are characterized by having eemaan in the Unseen, manifested in their statements, their beliefs, and their actions.” And he also said, “Fear of Allah could also be included in the meaning of al-eemaan, as it is an affirmation of one’s statement through his actions. al-Eemaan is a comprehensive term for an affirmative belief in Allah, His Books, and His Messengers, as well as actualizing that affirmation through one’s actions.” Continue reading

A Brief History of the Preservation of the Qur’an: Sheikh ‘Abd al-Muhsin al-‘Abbaad

In the introduction to a short work on memorizing the Qur’an sheikh ‘Abd al-Muhsin al-‘Abbaad, one of the senior scholars of al-Madinah, wrote the following brief overview of the Qur’an’s preservation and transmission:

الحمد لله الذي أنزل على عبده الكتاب ولم يجعل له عوجا، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله الذي أكرمه الله فجعل القرآن له خلقا صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله الطيّبين الشرفاء، وأصحابه أولي الفضائل والنهى ومن سلك سبيلهم واهتدى بهديهم إلى يوم الدين. ـ

All praise is due to Allah who sent down the Scripture upon His slave and did not place any crookedness in it. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone with no partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger, whom Allah ennobled and therefore made the Qur’an his very character – may Allah’s peace, blessings, and salutations be upon him, his good and noble family, his excellent and virtuous companions, and whoever follows along his path and is guided by his guidance until the Day of Judgement.

أما بعد: فإن أهم المهمّات وأولى ما تُعمر به الأوقات، الاشتغال والعناية بكتاب الله حفظاً وتلاوة وتدبّراً وتعلّماً وتعليماً وتأليفاً. ـ

To proceed: Certainly, the most important matter and the thing most deserving of our time is giving care and attention to the Book of Allah – memorizing it, reciting it, contemplating over it, studying it, teaching it, and gathering it together [i.e. in one’s heart, or in written form].

وكتاب الله خير الكلام وأحسن الحديث وأصدق القول، وقد وصفه الله بكونه عظيماً وحكيماً ومجيداً وكريماً وعزيزاً ومبيناً ونوراً وهدى ومباركاً، وغير ذلك من الأوصاف. ـ

The Book of Allah is the best speech, the most excellent discourse, and the most truthful of words. Allah has described it to us as magnificent, completely consistent, glorious, noble, mighty, clear, a light, a guidance, blessed, as well as other such descriptions. Continue reading