The Means and Objectives of Calling to Allah: Imam al-Sa’di

In part of his small work of miscellaneous benefits derived from the Qur’an, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di mentioned the following valuable point:

الداعي إلى الله وإلى دينه له طريق ووسيلة إلى مقصوده ، وله مقصودان . فطريقة الدعوة : بالحق إلى الحق للحق فإذا اجتمعت هذه الثلاثة ، بأن كان يدعو بالحق أي بالحكمة والموعظة الحسنة ، والمجادلة بالتي هي أحسن ، وكان يدعو إلى الحق – وهو سبيل الله تعالى وصراطه الموصل لسالكه إلى كرامته – وكان دعوته للحق ، أي : مخلصا لله تعالى ، قاصدا بذلك وجه الله ؛ حصل له أحد المقصودين لا محالة ، وهو : ثواب الداعين إلى الله ، وأجر ورثة الرسل بحسب ما قام به من ذلك ، وأما المقصود الآخر ، وهو حصول هداية الخلق وسلوكهم لسبيل الله الذي دعاهم إليه ؛ فهذا قد يحصل وقد لا يحصل ، فليجتهد الداعي في تكميل الدعوة كما تقدم ، وليستبشر بحصول الأجر والثواب ، وإذا لم يحصل المقصود الثاني – وهو هداية الخلق – أو حصل منهم معارضة أو أذية له بالقول أو بالفعل ؛ فليصبر ويحتسب ، ولا يوجب له ذلك ترك ما ينفعه ، وهو القيام بالدعوة علة وجه الكمال ، ولا يضق صدره بذلك ؛ فتضعف تفسه ، وتحضره الحسرات ، بل يقوم بجدٍ واجتهاد ، ولو حصل ما حصل من معارضة العباد . ـ

There are certain ways and means for the one who calls to Allah and to His religion to achieve his goals, and his goals are twofold.

The methodology of calling to Allah is: with what is right, to what is right, and for what is right. So he calls with what is right – meaning with wisdom, good exhortations, and arguing with what is best -, and he is calling to what is right – which is Allah’s way and straight path which leads those who traverse it unto His ultimate goodness -, and he is calling for what is right, meaning that he is sincere to Allah and doing so while seeking the sake of Allah.

So if these three matters are all in place together, then he will definitely achieve one of his two objectives, the first of which is the reward which is given to those who call to Allah. And that reward is the inheritance of the Messengers, according to the level at which he fulfilled that role. Continue reading

The Appropriate Places for Gentleness and for Harshness: Imam al-Sa’di

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di made the following beneficial clarification in part of his thematic tafsir:

فائدة: من الحكمة استعمال اللين في معاشرة المؤمنين، وفي مقام الدعوة للكافرين، كما قال تعالى: { فَبِمَا رَ‌حْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ }  [ آل عمران: 159 ]. وقال: { فَقُولَا لَهُ قَوْلًا لَّيِّنًا لَّعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ‌ أَوْ يَخْشَىٰ }  [ طه: 44 ]  . فأمر باللين في هذه المواضع، وذكر ما يترتب عليه من المصالح . ـ

A point of benefit: It is part of hikmah (wisdom) to employ gentleness in interactions with the believers and in situations of giving da’wah to the disbelievers, just as Allah said:

فَبِمَا رَ‌حْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ

And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you [3:159]

And He said:

فَقُولَا لَهُ قَوْلًا لَّيِّنًا لَّعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ‌ أَوْ يَخْشَىٰ

And speak to him [i.e. Fir’awn] gently, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear Allah. [20:44]

So He commanded having gentleness in these places, and He mentioned some of the benefits that follow from that.

 كما أن من الحكمة استعمال الغلظة في موضعها. قال تعالى: { يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ جَاهِدِ الْكُفَّارَ‌ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ } [ التحريم: 9 ] ؛ لأن المقام هنا مقام لا تفيد فيه الدعوة، بل قد تعين فيه القتال ، فالغلظة فيه من تمام القتال . ـ

And likewise it is part of hikmah for employ harshness in its proper place. Allah said: Continue reading

“Do you argue with us about Allah while He is our Lord and your Lord?”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says at the end of the first juz’ in surah al-Baqarah:

قُلْ أَتُحَاجُّونَنَا فِي اللَّـهِ وَهُوَ رَ‌بُّنَا وَرَ‌بُّكُمْ وَلَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُخْلِصُونَ

Say, [O Muhammad], “Do you argue with us about Allah while He is our Lord and your Lord? For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds. And we are sincere to Him.” [2:139]

Commenting on this is his famous book of tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

المحاجة هي: المجادلة بين اثنين فأكثر, تتعلق بالمسائل الخلافية, حتى يكون كل من الخصمين يريد نصرة قوله, وإبطال قول خصمه، فكل واحد منهما, يجتهد في إقامة الحجة على ذلك، والمطلوب منها, أن تكون بالتي هي أحسن, بأقرب طريق يرد الضال إلى الحق, ويقيم الحجة على المعاند, ويوضح الحق, ويبين الباطل، فإن خرجت عن هذه الأمور, كانت مماراة, ومخاصمة لا خير فيها, وأحدثت من الشر ما أحدثت، فكان أهل الكتاب, يزعمون أنهم أولى بالله من المسلمين, وهذا مجرد دعوى, تفتقر إلى برهان ودليل . ـ

“Arguing” is a dispute between two or more people related to issues of differing where each of the two disputants desires the victory of his position and the invalidation of his opponent’s position. So both of them strives to establish the proofs for that. And what is sought is for this to be done by that which is better, by the nearest path which subjugates the falsehood to the truth and establishes a proof against the stubborn ones, and makes the truth manifest and clarifies the falsehood. So if it goes beyond these affairs, then it merely quarreling and antagonism in which there is no good, and it produces whatever evil it produces. So the Ahl al-Kitaab would assert that they are the awliyaa’ (close ones) of Allah rather than the Muslims, and this is simply a claim which is devoid of any proof or evidence. Continue reading

A Principle to Dispel Specious Arguments and Doubts: Imam al-Sa’di

In surah Aali ‘Imran, Allah devotes some eighty-odd ayaat to addressing the Christians, disproving their ways, and calling them to the truth. In part of this section He says:

إِنَّ مَثَلَ عِيسَىٰ عِندَ اللَّـهِ كَمَثَلِ آدَمَ ۖ خَلَقَهُ مِن تُرَ‌ابٍ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ * الْحَقُّ مِن رَّ‌بِّكَ فَلَا تَكُن مِّنَ الْمُمْتَرِ‌ينَ

Indeed, the example of  ‘Eesaa (Jesus) to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, “Be,” and he was. * The truth is from your Lord, so do not be among the doubters. [3:59-60]

Commenting on this in his famous book tafsir, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

يخبر تعالى محتجا على النصارى الزاعمين بعيسى عليه السلام ما ليس له بحق، بغير برهان ولا شبهة، بل بزعمهم أنه ليس له والد استحق بذلك أن يكون ابن الله أو شريكا لله في الربوبية، وهذا ليس بشبهة فضلا أن يكون حجة، لأن خلقه كذلك من آيات الله الدالة على تفرد الله بالخلق والتدبير وأن جميع الأسباب طوع مشيئته وتبع لإرادته، فهو على نقيض قولهم أدل، وعلى أن أحدا لا يستحق المشاركة لله بوجه من الوجوه أولى، ـ

Allah informs us by way of objecting to the Christians who make claims – with neither conclusive proofs nor (even) substantial doubts – about ‘Eesaa (‘alaihi al-salaam) which contain no truth. Rather, according to their assertion, because of the fact that he does not have a father, then this requires that he is the son of Allah or a partner with Allah in terms of lordship. But this is not a substantial doubt – much less a conclusive proof – because his being created in that way is one of the demonstrative signs of Allah’s exclusive role in creation and administration and that all of the causative factors are subject to His will and submissive to His wishes. So this is fully exposing the deficiency of their claim and proving that no one is deserving of partnership with Allah in any way at all. Continue reading

“When he reached the setting place of the sun…” : Tafsir ibn Kathir, al-Shinqitee & al-Qurtubi

Allah mentions the story of Dhu’l-Qarnain in surah al-Kahf and brings the following ayah therein:

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ مَغْرِ‌بَ الشَّمْسِ وَجَدَهَا تَغْرُ‌بُ فِي عَيْنٍ حَمِئَةٍ

Until, when he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in a murky spring. [18:86]

al-Haafidh Abu’l-Fidaa’ Ismaa’eel Ibn Kathir (d. 774 AH) commented on this ayah by writing:

وقوله : ( وجدها تغرب في عين حمئة ) أي : رأى الشمس في منظره تغرب في البحر المحيط ، وهذا شأن كل من انتهى إلى ساحله ، يراها كأنها تغرب فيه ، وهي لا تفارق الفلك الرابع الذي هي مثبتة فيه لا تفارقه

His statement “and he found it setting in a murky spring” meaning, he saw the sun from his viewpoint setting in the expansive ocean. This is something which everyone who goes to the coast can see; it looks as if the sun is setting into it [the ocean] but it never leaves its path in which it is fixed.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 5/192]

Imam Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee (d. 1393 AH) quoted this statement from ibn Kathir in his own tafsir on this ayah and then went on to explain: Continue reading

“And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah concludes surah al-‘Ankaboot with the following ayah:

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good. [29:69]

Commenting on this ayah in his famous book of tafsir, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote the following beneficial words for the student of knowledge:

ـ { وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا } وهم الذين هاجروا في سبيل اللّه، وجاهدوا أعداءهم، وبذلوا مجهودهم في اتباع مرضاته، { لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا } أي: الطرق الموصلة إلينا، وذلك لأنهم محسنون. ـ

And those who strive for Us” – and they are those who migrated in the path of Allah and struggled against their enemies and expended their efforts in following His pleasure – “We will surely guide them to Our ways” – meaning, the paths which lead to Us, and that is because they are the good-doers.

ـ { وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ } بالعون والنصر والهداية. دل هذا على أن أحرى الناس بموافقة الصواب أهل الجهاد، وعلى أن من أحسن فيما أمر به أعانه اللّه ويسر له أسباب الهداية، وعلى أن من جد واجتهد في طلب العلم الشرعي، فإنه يحصل له من الهداية والمعونة على تحصيل مطلوبه أمور إلهية، خارجة عن مدرك اجتهاده، وتيسر له أمر العلم، فإن طلب العلم الشرعي من الجهاد في سبيل اللّه، بل هو أحد نَوْعَي الجهاد، الذي لا يقوم به إلا خواص الخلق، وهو الجهاد بالقول واللسان، للكفار والمنافقين، والجهاد على تعليم أمور الدين، وعلى رد نزاع المخالفين للحق، ولو كانوا من المسلمين. ـ

And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good” by means of aid, support and guidance. This demonstrates that the most likely of people to coincide with what is correct are the people of striving. Continue reading

Eemaan, jihaad and Hajj mabroor: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali writes the following under the chapter heading, “Concerning the Hajj, it’s virtues and an incitement to perform it”:

في الصحيحين [ عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال : أفضل الأعمال إيمان بالله و رسوله ثم جهاد في سبيل الله ثم حج مبرور ] هذه الأعمال الثلاثة ترجع في الحقيقة إلى عملين

In the Saheehayn, Abu Huyayrah narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best of deeds is eemaan in Allah and His messenger, then jihaad in the path of Allah, then Hajj mabroor.” These three deeds, in reality, return back to being two deeds.

أحدهما : الإيمان بالله و رسوله و هو التصديق الجازم بالله و ملائكته و كتبه و رسله و اليوم الآخر كما فسر النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم الإيمان بذلك في سؤال جبريل و في غيره من الأحاديث و قد ذكر الله تعالى الإيمان بهذه الأصول في مواضع كثيرة من كتابه كأول البقرة و وسطها و آخرها

The first of them is al-eemaan in Allah and His messenger, and that is firm affirmation of Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers and the Last Day as they are explained by the Prophet (ﷺ). Having eemaan in that was in the question of Jibreel and others besides him in various aahaadeeth, and Allah the Almighty has mention al-eemaan with this foundation in numerous places in His book, such as the beginning of surah al-Baqarah and its middle and its end. Continue reading

“I entrust my affair to Allah”: Tafsir al-Shawkaani

In surah Ghaafir, Allah recounts the story of a believing man from the family of Fir’awn who was calling his people to the worship of Allah alone, beginning with the 28th ayah and continuing until the 45th. In the conclusion of this man’s da’wah to his people, he uses a word which only occurs in this place in the Qur’an when he says:

فَسَتَذْكُرُ‌ونَ مَا أَقُولُ لَكُمْ ۚ وَأُفَوِّضُ أَمْرِ‌ي إِلَى اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ بَصِيرٌ‌ بِالْعِبَادِ

“And you will remember what I am telling you, and I entrust my affair to Allah. Verily, Allah is the All-Seer of (His) slaves.” [40:44]

Commenting on this ayah in his work of tafsir, imam al-Shawkaani writes:

وَأُفَوّضُ أَمْرِى إِلَى الله أي: أتوكل عليه، وأسلم أمري إليه. قيل: إنه قال هذا لما أرادوا الإيقاع به. قال مقاتل: هرب هذا المؤمن إلى الجبل، فلم يقدروا عليه. وقيل: القائل هو: موسى، والأوّل أولى

And I entrust my affair to Allah” – meaning: I place my tawakkal (reliance, full trust) on Him, and I surrender my affair to Him. It is said that he said this when they wanted to punish him. Muqaatil said, “this believing man fled to the mountain, so they did not have any power over him.” And it is said that the speaker was Moosaa, but the first opinion (that it was the believing man from the family of Fir’awn) is preferred.

[Fath al-Qadeer 4/704]

See also: A cure for 99 problems

See also: “Remind them of the Days of Allah”: Tafsir al-Shawkaani

See also: A Runaway Slave

See also: The Tawakkal and Understaning of Ya’qub (‘alaihis salaam)

See also: “And whoever places their reliance upon Allah, then He is sufficient for him”:Ibn Hajr

See also: The Qur’anic Ayaat on Love – Part 2: Those whom Allah Loves

“And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah…” Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in His Book, in surah Fussilat:

وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am one of the Muslims.” [41:33]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di, in his explanation of this ayah, wrote:

هذا استفهام بمعنى النفي المتقرر أي‏:‏ لا أحد أحسن قولا‏.‏ أي‏:‏ كلامًا وطريقة، وحالة ‏{‏مِمَّنْ دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ‏}‏ بتعليم الجاهلين، ووعظ الغافلين والمعرضين، ومجادلة المبطلين، بالأمر بعبادة الله، بجميع أنواعها،والحث عليها، وتحسينها مهما أمكن، والزجر عما نهى الله عنه، وتقبيحه بكل طريق يوجب تركه، خصوصًا من هذه الدعوة إلى أصل دين الإسلام وتحسينه، ومجادلة أعدائه بالتي هي أحسن، والنهي عما يضاده من الكفر والشرك، والأمر بالمعروف، والنهي عن المنكر‏.‏

This question is meant as a refutation of any other position, meaning: no one is better in speech – i.e. in both content and manner of delivery.

And the description of

مِمَّنْ دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ

than one who invites to Allah

is by teaching the ignorant, and admonishing the heedless and those who turn away, and arguing against those upon falsehood, and by enjoining the worship of Allah in all its forms and varieties, and inciting the people towards that, and to better things in whatever ways one can, and to deter against what Allah has prohibited, and to reveal the depravity of every way which must be abandoned, especially doing all this while calling to the foundations of the deen of Islam and its beautification, and arguing against its enemies in the best way, and forbidding what opposes it of kufr and shirk, and enjoining the good, and forbidding evil.

ومن الدعوة إلى الله، تحبيبه إلى عباده، بذكر تفاصيل نعمه، وسعة جوده، وكمال رحمته، وذكر أوصاف كماله، ونعوت جلاله‏.‏

And part of calling to Allah is engendering the love of Him in His slaves, and mentioning the details of His blessings and their great extent, and the completeness of His mercy, and mentioning His perfect attributes and beautiful qualities. Continue reading

The Messiah was only a Messenger and his mother was a ṣiddīqah: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah mentions in surah al-Maa’idah:

مَّا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ وَأُمُّهُ صِدِّيقَةٌ ۖ كَانَا يَأْكُلَانِ الطَّعَامَ ۗ انظُرْ كَيْفَ نُبَيِّنُ لَهُمُ الْآيَاتِ ثُمَّ انظُرْ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ

The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a iddīqah. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded. [5:75]
Imam al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, writes the following commentary on this ayah:
ثم ذكر حقيقة المسيح وأُمِّه، الذي هو الحق، فقال: { مَا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ ْ} أي: هذا غايته ومنتهى أمره، أنه من عباد الله المرسلين، الذين ليس لهم من الأمر ولا من التشريع، إلا ما أرسلهم به الله، وهو من جنس الرسل قبله، لا مزية له عليهم تخرجه عن البشرية إلى مرتبة الربوبية.
Then He mentioned the reality about the Messiah and his mother, which is the truth, so He said, “The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him” – meaning this is the limit and the extent of his condition, that he is one of the slaves of Allah sent as a messenger, for whom belongs neither the power to command or divinely legislate matter except for that which Allah sent them with. He is from the same category of messengers as those before him; there is no special privilege conferred on him which would remove him from humanity unto a level of lordship.
{ وَأُمَّهُ ْ} مريم { صِدِّيقَةٌ ْ} أي: هذا أيضا غايتها، أن كانت من الصديقين الذين هم أعلى الخلق رتبة بعد الأنبياء. والصديقية، هي العلم النافع المثمر لليقين، والعمل الصالح. .
And his mother” Maryam “was a iddīqah” -meaning that this is also the extent of her condition, that she was one of the iddīqūn, those who are the highest rank of creation after the anbiyaa’. And al-iddīqiyyah is beneficial knowledge which produces yaqeen (certainty) and righteous actions. Continue reading