The Qur’an, the Tawrah and the Injeel: Tafsir ibn Kathir

The great mufassir Abu’l-Fidaa’ Ismaa’eel Ibn Kathir gave brief but clarifying definitions of some of the divinely-revealed scriptures in his famous tafsir when he wrote:

وكثيرا ما يقرن الله بين التوراة والقرآن ، كما في قوله تعالى ( قل من أنزل الكتاب الذي جاء به موسى نورا وهدى للناس ) إلى أن قال : ( وهذا كتاب أنزلناه مبارك ) [ الأنعام : 91 ، 92 ] ، ـ

Often times, Allah pairs (mention of) the Tawrah and the Qur’an, just as in His statement:

قُلْ مَنْ أَنزَلَ الْكِتَابَ الَّذِي جَاءَ بِهِ مُوسَىٰ نُورً‌ا وَهُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ ۖ تَجْعَلُونَهُ قَرَ‌اطِيسَ تُبْدُونَهَا وَتُخْفُونَ كَثِيرً‌ا ۖ وَعُلِّمْتُم مَّا لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا أَنتُمْ وَلَا آبَاؤُكُمْ ۖ قُلِ اللَّـهُ ۖ ثُمَّ ذَرْ‌هُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ * وَهَـٰذَا كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ مُبَارَ‌كٌ

Say, “Who revealed the Scripture that Moosaa brought as light and guidance to the people? You [Jews] make it into pages, disclosing [some of] it and concealing much. And you were taught that which you knew not – neither you nor your fathers.” Say, “Allah [revealed it].” Then leave them in their [empty] discourse, amusing themselves. * And this is a Book which We have sent down, blessed… [6:91-92] 

وقال في آخر السورة : ( ثم آتينا موسى الكتاب تماما على الذي أحسن ) ، إلى أن قال : ( وهذا كتاب أنزلناه مبارك فاتبعوه واتقوا لعلكم ترحمون ) [ الأنعام : 155 ] ، وقالت الجن : ( إنا سمعنا كتابا أنزل من بعد موسى [ مصدقا لما بين يديه ] ) [ الأحقاف : 30 ] وقال ورقة بن نوفل : هذا الناموس الذي أنزل [ الله ] على موسى . ـ

And in another surah: Continue reading

Appropriate Miracles for Each People and Era: Ibn Kathir

The great scholar and historian al-haafidh Abu’l-Fidaa’ Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir wrote the following point of benefit in his tafsir under his discussion of some of the miracles of ‘Eesaa ibn Maryam (Jesus the son of Mary):

قال كثير من العلماء : بعث الله كل نبي من الأنبياء بمعجزة تناسب أهل زمانه ، فكان الغالب على زمان موسى ، عليه السلام ، السحر وتعظيم السحرة . فبعثه الله بمعجزة بهرت الأبصار وحيرت كل سحار ، فلما استيقنوا أنها من عند العظيم الجبار انقادوا للإسلام ، وصاروا من الأبرار .  ـ

Many of the scholars have said: Allah sent each one of the prophets with miracles which were befitting the people of their time. So what was predominant during the time of Moosaa (‘alaihi al-salaam) was sorcery and magnification of magicians, so Allah sent Moosaa with miracles which dazzled the sight and confounded every magician, so when they [the magicians] became certain that this was from al-‘Atheem al-Jabbaar (The Magnificent and Mighty), then they conformed to al-Islaam and they become amongst the most pious of people.

وأما عيسى ، عليه السلام ، فبعث في زمن الأطباء وأصحاب علم الطبيعة ، فجاءهم من الآيات بما لا سبيل لأحد إليه ، إلا أن يكون مؤيدا من الذي شرع الشريعة . فمن أين للطبيب قدرة على إحياء الجماد ، أو على مداواة الأكمه والأبرص ، وبعث من هو في قبره رهين إلى يوم التناد ؟ ـ

As for ‘Eesaa (‘alaihi al-salaam), then he was sent during an era of doctors and people studying the natural world, so he came to them with ayaat (signs, miracles) which no one could produce unless if he were aided by the One who legislated the divine legislation. For does the doctor have any power to give life to that which is inanimate, or to heal the blind or the leper, or to bring forth the one who was made subject unto the grave until the Day of Summoning?

وكذلك محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم بعثه [ الله ] في زمن الفصحاء والبلغاء ونحارير الشعراء ، فأتاهم بكتاب من الله ، عز وجل ، لو اجتمعت الإنس والجن على أن يأتوا بمثله ، أو بعشر سور من مثله ، أو بسورة من مثله لم يستطيعوا أبدا ، ولو كان بعضهم لبعض ظهيرا ، وما ذاك إلا لأن كلام الرب لا يشبهه كلام الخلق أبدا . ـ

And likewise with Muhammad (ﷺ) – Allah sent him during an era of articulate and eloquent speakers and excellent poets. So he came to them with a Book from Allah which even if mankind and Jinn-kind were to work together to bring about the likes of it, or even ten surahs like it, or even one surah like it – then would never be able to do that, even if there were aiding one another. And that is due to no other reason than that it is the Speech of the Lord which no speech of the creation will ever be able to resemble.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 2/46]

See also: Tafsir al-Sa’di on the objective of revealing the Qur’an and its benefits

See also: The Prophet Muhammad is the fulfillment of Ibrahim’s du’a : Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

See also: The story of ‘Eesaa, his mother, Zakariyyah and Yahya – Imam al-Sa’di

See also: And even if they see all the signs, they will not believe in them: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

See also: The Qur’an, the Tawrah and the Injeel: Tafsir ibn Kathir

The story of ‘Eesaa, his mother, Zakariyyah and Yahya – Imam al-Sa’di

In his book of thematic tafsir, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di collected the details of the story of the prophet ‘Eesaa (Jesus), his mother Maryam (Mary), his uncle Zakariyyah (Zechariah) and his cousin Yahya (John) together along with a number of benefits from their stories together in one chapter, as follows:

 قصة عيسى وأمه ، وزكريا ويحيى عليهم السلام

The story of ‘Eesaa and his mother, and Zakariyyah and Yahya (‘alaihim al-salaam)

كانت زوجة عمران – وهو من أكابر بني إسرائيل ورؤسائهم وذوي المقامات العالية عندهم – نذرت حين ظهر حملها أن تحرر ما في بطنها لبيت المقدس، يكون خادما لبيت الله، مُعَدًّا لعبادة الله، ظنا أن الذي في بطنها ذكر، فلما وضعتها قالت معتذرة إلى الله شاكية إليه الحال : [ رَ‌بِّ إِنِّي وَضَعْتُهَا أُنثَىٰ وَاللَّـهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتْ وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ‌ كَالْأُنثَىٰ ]  أي أن الذكر الذي له القوة والقدرة على ما يراد منه من القيام بخدمة بيت المقدس

There was the wife of ‘Imran – who was one of the esteemed people and leaders of Banu Israa’eel (Children of Israel) and he held a high position in their eyes – who made a vow when it became apparent that she was with child that she would dedicate what was in her womb to Bait al-Maqdis – that it would be a servant for the House of Allah and dedicated to the worship of Allah – thinking that that which was in her stomach was a male. So when she delivered a female child, she made an excuse to Allah in defense of her situation,

رَ‌بِّ إِنِّي وَضَعْتُهَا أُنثَىٰ وَاللَّـهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتْ وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ‌ كَالْأُنثَىٰ

“My Lord, I have delivered a female.” And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, and the male is not like the female. [3:36]

meaning, the male is the one which has the ability and power to do what is desired of him in terms of fulfilling the role of a servant for Bait al-Maqdis. Continue reading

The supplications of four prophets for or against their people: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah informs us in surah Ibrahim about the statement of His Khaleel Ibrahim:

فَمَن تَبِعَنِي فَإِنَّهُ مِنِّي ۖ وَمَنْ عَصَانِي فَإِنَّكَ غَفُورٌ‌ رَّ‌حِيمٌ

[Ibrahim said] “So whoever follows me – then he is of me; and whoever disobeys me – indeed, You are al-Ghafoor al-Raheem (Forgiving and Merciful).”

[al-Qur’an 14:36]

Commenting on this in his book of tafsir, Imam al-Shinqitee wrote:

بين تعالى في هذه الآية الكريمة أن نبيه إبراهيم قال : إن من تبعه فإنه منه ، وأنه رد أمر من لم يتبعه إلى مشيئة الله تعالى ، إن شاء الله غفر له ; لأنه هو الغفور الرحيم ، ـ

Allah clarified (some issues) about His prophet Ibrahim in this noble ayah – He said: Continue reading

Blessed are those who read the Book of Allah and act accordingly

Imam al-Qurtubi, in his book of tafsir, reports that Qataadah said:

ذكر لنا أن عيسى – عليه السلام – رأته امرأة يحيي الموتى ، ويبرئ الأكمه والأبرص في سائر آياته فقالت : طوبى للبطن الذي حملك ، والثدي الذي أرضعك ؛ فقال لها عيسى – عليه السلام – : طوبى لمن تلا كتاب الله تعالى واتبع ما فيه وعمل به

“It has reached us that a woman saw ‘Eesaa (Jesus – ‘alaihis salaam) restoring life to the dead and healing the blind and the leper and the rest of his miracles, so she said, “Blessed be the womb which bore you, and the breast which suckled you!” So ‘Eesaa said to her, “Blessed be the one who reads the Book of Allah and follows what is in it, and acts in accordance with it.”

[Jaami’ li-Ahkam al-Qur’an 11/32]

Ibn Abi Shaybah recorded a similar narration from Khaithamah saying:

 مرت بعيسى امرأة فقالت : طوبى لبطن حملك ، ولثدي أرضعك ، فقال عيسى : بل طوبى لمن قرأ القرآن واتبع ما فيه .

Once a woman said to ‘Eesaa, “Blessed be the womb that bore you, and the breast that suckled you!” So ‘Eesaa replied, “Rather, Blessed be the one who reads the revelation and follows what is in it.”

[Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah 7/463]

Ibn Manthoor brings a similar narration from Khaithamah with the wording: 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

Two disbelieving women and two believing women: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah concludes surah al-Tahreem with the following ayaat where He says:

‏ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا اِمْرَأَةَ نُوحٍ وَامْرَأَةَ لُوطٍ كَانَتَا تَحْتَ عَبْدَيْنِ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا صَالِحَيْنِ فَخَانَتَاهُمَا فَلَمْ يُغْنِيَا عَنْهُمَا مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا وَقِيلَ ادْخُلَا النَّارَ مَعَ الدَّاخِلِينَ * وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اِمْرَأَةَ فِرْعَوْنَ إِذْ قَالَتْ رَبِّ ابْنِ لِي عِنْدَكَ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنْ فِرْعَوْنَ وَعَمَلِهِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ * وَمَرْيَمَ ابْنَتَ عِمْرَانَ الَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهِ مِنْ رُوحِنَا وَصَدَّقَتْ بِكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّهَا وَكُتُبِهِ وَكَانَتْ مِنَ الْقَانِتِينَ

Allah presents an example of those who disbelieved: the wife of Nuh and the wife of Loot. They were under two of Our righteous servants but betrayed them, so those prophets did not avail them from Allah at all, and it was said, “Enter the Fire with those who enter.” And Allah presents an example of those who believed: the wife of Fir’awn, when she said, “My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise and save me from Fir’awn and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people.” And [the example of] Maryam, the daughter of ‘Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her Our Ruh, and she testified to the truth of the Words of her Lord, and His Scriptures, and she was of the devoutly obedient. [66:10-12]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, writes the following commentary:

هذان المثلان اللذان ضربهما الله للمؤمنين والكافرين، ليبين لهم أن اتصال الكافر بالمؤمن وقربه منه لا يفيده شيئًا، وأن اتصال المؤمن بالكافر لا يضره شيئًا مع قيامه بالواجب عليه‏.‏

These are two examples which Allah has struck of the believers and the disbelievers in order to clarify to them that a connection of a kaafir to a mu’min and his closeness to him does not benefit the kaafir at all, and that the connection of a mu’min to a kaafir does not harm the mu’min at all, so long as he establishes his duties to him [i.e. giving him his due rights, not being unjust to him, etc.]

Continue reading

“Had Allah willed to take a son…”: Tafsir al-Sa’di and Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in surah al-Zumar:

لَّوْ أَرَ‌ادَ اللَّـهُ أَن يَتَّخِذَ وَلَدًا لَّاصْطَفَىٰ مِمَّا يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ ۖ هُوَ اللَّـهُ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ‌

Had Allah willed to take a son, He could have chosen whom He pleased out of those whom He created. Exalted is He! He is Allah, the One, the Subduer. [39:4]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, writes:

أي‏:‏ ‏{‏لَوْ أَرَادَ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَتَّخِذَ وَلَدًا‏}‏ كما زعم ذلك من زعمه، من سفهاء الخلق‏.‏ ‏{‏لَاصْطَفَى مِمَّا يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ لاصطفى بعض مخلوقاته التي يشاء اصطفاءه، واختصه لنفسه، وجعله بمنزلة الولد، ولم يكن حاجة إلى اتخاذ الصاحبة‏.‏

Had Allah willed to take a son” as is the assertion of those who assert this from the fools of creation. “He could have chosen whom He pleased out of those whom He created” – meaning He could have chosen whomever of His creatures which He willed to choose, and singled it out for Himself, and made it in the likeness of a son, and He did not need to take a consort.

‏{‏سُبْحَانَهُ‏}‏ عما ظنه به الكافرون، أو نسبه إليه الملحدون‏.‏

Exalted is He!” above what the kaafireen think of Him, or what the heretics attribute to Him.

‏{‏هُوَ اللَّهُ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ الواحد في ذاته، وفي أسمائه، وفي صفاته، وفي أفعاله، فلا شبيه له في شيء من ذلك، ولا مماثل، فلو كان له ولد، لاقتضى أن يكون شبيها له في وحدته، لأنه بعضه، وجزء منه‏.‏

He is Allah, the One, the Subduer” – meaning: al-Waahid (the One) in His essence, His names, His attributes, and His actions. So nothing resembles Him at all in any of those things, and there is no likeness to Him. So if there was a son for Him, then it would necessarily have to resemble Him in His Oneness, because that is part and parcel of Him.

القهار لجميع العالم العلوي والسفلي، فلو كان له ولد لم يكن مقهورا، ولكان له إدلال على أبيه ومناسبة منه‏.‏

The Subduer (Al-Qahhaar) over all the world, from top to bottom. So if there were a son for Him, the son could not subdued, and he would have some importance in relationship to his father.

ووحدته تعالى وقهره متلازمان، فالواحد لا يكون إلا قهارا، والقهار لا يكون إلا واحدا، وذلك ينفي الشركة له من كل وجه‏.‏

And His Oneness and His Irresistible Power go hand in hand, for He cannot truly be al-Waahid unless He is a irresistibly powerful, and He cannot truly be al-Qahhaar unless He is singular, and this negates the idea of partnership with Him from every angle.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman, p. 719]

Imam ibn Kathir also addresses this ayah in his tafsir where he writes:

ثم بين تعالى أنه لا ولد له كما يزعمه جهلة المشركين في الملائكة، والمعاندون من اليهود والنصارى في العزير، وعيسى فقال: {لَوْ أَرَادَ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَتَّخِذَ وَلَدًا لاصْطَفَى مِمَّا يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ} أي: لكان الأمر على خلاف ما يزعمون. وهذا شرط لا يلزم وقوعه ولا جوازه، بل هو محال، وإنما قصد تجهيلهم فيما ادعوه وزعموه، كما قال: {لَوْ أَرَدْنَا أَنْ نَتَّخِذَ لَهْوًا لاتَّخَذْنَاهُ مِنْ لَدُنَّا إِنْ كُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ} [الأنبياء: 17] {قُلْ إِنْ كَانَ لِلرَّحْمَنِ وَلَدٌ فَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْعَابِدِينَ} [الزخرف: 81]، كل هذا من باب الشرط، ويجوز تعليق الشرط على المستحيل لقصد المتكلم.

Allah clarifies that He does not have a son, contrary to what the mushrikoon claim about the angels in ignorance, and what the obstinate ones from the Jews and Christians claim about ‘Uzair and ‘Eesaa (respectively). So He said, “Had Allah willed to take a son, He could have chosen whom He pleased out of those whom He created” – meaning: However the matter is contrary to what they claim, and this hypothetical clause [that Allah has a son] is not a necessary occurrence, nor is it permissible. Rather it is impossible, and the only intent here is to demonstrate the ignorance in what they call to and assert. This is as He said, “Had We intended to take a diversion, We could have taken it from [what is] with Us – if [indeed] We were to do so”  [21:17], and “Say, “If the Most Merciful had a son, then I would be the first of [his] worshippers” [43:81], and all of this is from the category of hypothetical clauses, and it is permitted to predicate the clause on an impossibility for the sake of rhetorical argument.

وقوله: {سُبْحَانَهُ هُوَ اللَّهُ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ} أي: تعالى وتنزه وتقدس عن أن يكون له ولد، فإنه الواحد الأحد، الفرد الصمد، الذي كل شيء عبد لديه، فقير إليه، وهو الغني عما سواه الذي قد قهر الأشياء فدانت له وذلت وخضعت.

And His statement, “Exalted is He! He is Allah, the One, the Subduer” – meaning, Allah the Exalted purifies Himself from having an offspring. For He is the One, the Singular, and Unique, the One who is Perfect is all of His Attributes, to Whom everything comes to Him as a slave, in need of Him, and He is Free of Need from anything else, and He has exercised His Irresistible Power over all things.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 7/85]

See also: A response to those who say “We are the children of Allah”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: A reply to those who say, “If Allah can do anything, why can He not have a son?”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

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

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

See also: The story of ‘Eesaa, his mother, Zakariyyah and Yahya – Imam al-Sa’di

Imam al-Shawkani on the Gospels

Allah says in 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 Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion and do not say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, ‘Eesaa (Jesus) , the son of Maryam, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Maryam and a ruh from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, ‘Three’; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.” [4:171]

Imam al-Shawkani, in his book tafsir, writes the following in part of his explanation for this ayah, :

قوله: {يأَهْلَ الكتاب لاَ تَغْلُواْ فِى دِينِكُمْ} الغلو: هو التجاوز في الحدّ، ومنه غلا السعر يغلو غلاء، وغلا الرجل في الأمر غلواً، وغلا بالجارية لحمها وعظمها إذا أسرعت الشباب فجاوزت لداتها. والمراد بالآية: النهي لهم عن الإفراط تارة والتفريط أخرى، فمن الإفراط غلوّ النصارى في عيسى حتى جعلوه ربا، ومن التفريط غلو اليهود فيه عليه السلام حتى جعلوه لغير رشدة، وما أحسن قول الشاعر

ولا تغل في شيء من الأمر واقتصد *** كلا طرفي قصد الأمور ذميم

His statement, “O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion” – ‘Excess’ is exceeding the limits. … And the meaning of the ayah: a prohibition to them from exaggeration on the one hand and negligence on the other, for from the excess of exaggeration are the Christians concerning’ Eesaa (Jesus) to the extent that they made him a lord, and from the excess of negligence are the Jews concerning him (‘alaihis salaam) to the extent that they made him other than rightly guided. And what is better that the speech of the poet:

Do not go to extremes in any affairs, nor be negligent,

Both of these groups have achieved lowly affairs

{وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ عَلَى الله إِلاَّ الحق} وهو ما وصف به نفسه ووصفته به رسله، ولا تقولوا الباطل كقول اليهود عزير ابن الله، وقول النصارى المسيح ابن الله . ـ

And do not say about Allah except the truth” and [the truth] is that with which He has described Himself and what His messengers have described Him with. And do not say falsehood, such as the statement of the Jews that ‘Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allah, or the statement of the Christians that ‘Eesaa is the son of Allah.

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A reply to those who say, “If God can do anything, why can He not have a son?”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says His Book in surah al-Maa’idah:

لَّقَدْ كَفَرَ‌ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّـهَ هُوَ الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْ‌يَمَ ۚ قُلْ فَمَن يَمْلِكُ مِنَ اللَّـهِ شَيْئًا إِنْ أَرَ‌ادَ أَن يُهْلِكَ الْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْ‌يَمَ وَأُمَّهُ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ جَمِيعًا ۗ وَلِلَّـهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا ۚ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ‌

“They have certainly disbelieved who say that Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary. Say, “Then who could prevent Allah at all if He had intended to destroy the Messiah, the son of Mary, or his mother or everyone on the earth?” And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them. He creates what He wills, and Allah is competent  over all things.” [5:17]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, writes:

لما ذكر تعالى أخذ الميثاق على أهل الكتابين، وأنهم لم يقوموا به بل نقضوه، ذكر أقوالهم الشنيعة‏.‏

Allah mentioned when He took the covenant from the People of the two Books [i.e. Jews and Christians], and that they did not establish their part of it, but rather they negated it. He mentioned some of their outrageous statements.

فذكر قول النصارى، القول الذي ما قاله أحد غيرهم، بأن الله هو المسيح ابن مريم، ووجه شبهتهم أنه ولد من غير أب، فاعتقدوا فيه هذا الاعتقاد الباطل مع أن حواء نظيره، خُلِقَت بلا أم، وآدم أولى منه، خلق بلا أب ولا أم، فهلا ادعوا فيهما الإلهية كما ادعوها في المسيح‏؟‏

So He mentioned the statement of the Christians, the statement which no one other than them said, that Allah is the Messiah, [Jesus] the son of Mary, and their misconceived perception that he was born without a father, so they therefore believe in these false beliefs. [These beliefs are false because if that were so then] Hawa’ [Eve] would be his counterpart- she was created without a mother. And Adam was the first of them; he was created without a father or a mother. So then would they claim divinity for these two just as they have claimed it for the Messiah?

فدل على أن قولهم اتباع هوى من غير برهان ولا شبهة‏.‏ فرد الله عليهم بأدلة عقلية واضحة فقال‏:‏ ‏{‏قُلْ فَمَن يَمْلِكُ مِنَ اللَّهِ شيئًا إِنْ أَرَادَ أَن يُهْلِكَ الْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَأُمَّهُ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا‏}‏

This demonstrates that their statement is based upon desires, and not proof or [even] doubts. So Allah refutes them with clear intellectual proofs when He said, “Say, ‘Then who could prevent Allah at all if He had intended to destroy Christ, the son of Mary, or his mother or everyone on the earth?’

فإذا كان المذكورون لا امتناع عندهم يمنعهم لو أراد الله أن يهلكهم، ولا قدرة لهم على ذلك ـ دل على بطلان إلهية من لا يمتنع من الإهلاك، ولا في قوته شيء من الفكاك‏.‏

So the aforementioned people [those who claim divinity for Jesus] cannot deny that – if Allah wished – He could destroy them, and they have no power against that, showing the falsehood of their gods who cannot prevent their own destruction and who do not have any ability to escape.

ومن الأدلة أن ‏{‏لِلَّهِ‏}‏ وحده ‏{‏مُلْكُ السموات وَالْأَرْضِ‏}‏ يتصرف فيهم بحكمه الكوني والشرعي والجزائي، وهم مملوكون مدبرون، فهل يليق أن يكون المملوك العبد الفقير، إلها معبودا غنيا من كل وجه‏؟‏ هذا من أعظم المحال‏.‏

And this is one of the proofs that “to Allah” alone “belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth” to dispose of them without any restriction according to His universal wisdom, divine law and requital, while they are owned and under His care – so is it befitting for a god who is worshiped and free of all needs to be a servant who is owned and in need? This is one of the greatest impossibilities.

ولا وجه لاستغرابهم لخلق المسيح عيسى ابن مريم من غير أب، فإن الله ‏{‏يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ‏}‏ إن شاء من أب وأم، كسائر بني آدم، وإن شاء من أب بلا أم، كحواء‏.‏ وإن شاء من أم بلا أب، كعيسى‏.‏ وإن شاء من غير أب ولا أم ‏[‏كآدم‏]‏

And regarding their amazement at the creation of the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, without a father, then certainly Allah “creates what He wills“. If He wills someone with a father and a mother, like the rest of the children of Adam [then He can do that], and if He wills someone with a father and not a mother, like Hawa’ [(Eve) then He can do that], and if He wills someone with a mother and not a father, like Jesus [then He can do that], and if He wishes someone without a father or a mother, like Adam [then He can do that].

فنوع خليقته تعالى بمشيئته النافذة، التي لا تعصي عليها شيء، ولهذا قال‏:‏ ‏{‏وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ‏}‏

The varieties of His creation are from His will-power, which does not disobey Him at all, and about this He said, “And Allah is competent over all things.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman p. 248-249]

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

See also: Four categories of parentage and four categories of offspring: Tafsir ibn Kathir

See also: A response to those who say “We are the children of Allah”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: “Had Allah willed to take a son…”: Tafsir al-Sa’di and Tafsir ibn Kathir

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

See also: The story of ‘Eesaa, his mother, Zakariyyah and Yahya – Imam al-Sa’di