An Encouragement to Those Who Rush Towards Good: Tafsir al-Shawkani

In the middle of surah al-Mu’minoon, Allah describes those who rush towards good with a series of excellent qualities:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ هُم مِّنْ خَشْيَةِ رَبِّهِم مُّشْفِقُونَ * وَالَّذِينَ هُم بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ يُؤْمِنُونَ * وَالَّذِينَ هُم بِرَبِّهِمْ لَا يُشْرِكُونَ * وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْتُونَ مَا آتَوا وَّقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ رَاجِعُونَ * أُولَـٰئِكَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَهُمْ لَهَا سَابِقُونَ

Those who are apprehensive from fear of their Lord * And who believe in the signs of their Lord * And who do not associate anything with their Lord * And who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord – * These are the ones who hasten to good deeds, and they are the forerunners to them. [23:57-61]

Allah then follows up these descriptions by saying:

وَلَا نُكَلِّفُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا

And We do not tax any person except according to his capacity … [23:62]

Imam Muhammad al-Shawkaani commented on relationship between the first section of ayaat and the latter one by writing: Continue reading

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

Allah mentions in surah al-Shooraa:

لِّلَّـهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضِ ۚ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ يَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ إِنَاثًا وَيَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ الذُّكُورَ‌ * أَوْ يُزَوِّجُهُمْ ذُكْرَ‌انًا وَإِنَاثًا ۖ وَيَجْعَلُ مَن يَشَاءُ عَقِيمًا ۚ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ قَدِيرٌ

To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; He creates what he wills. He gives to whom He wills female [children], and He gives to whom He wills males.  Or He pairs them with males and females, and He renders whom He wills barren. Indeed, He is Knowing and Powerful.  [42:49-50]‌

Commenting on this in his book of tafsir, Imam Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir wrote the following:

 يخبر تعالى أنه خالق السموات والأرض ومالكهما والمتصرف فيهما ، وأنه ما شاء كان ، وما لم يشأ لم يكن ، وأنه يعطي من يشاء ، ويمنع من يشاء ، ولا مانع لما أعطى ، ولا معطي لما منع ، وأنه يخلق ما يشاء ، و ( يهب لمن يشاء إناثا ) أي : يرزقه البنات فقط – قال البغوي : ومنهم لوط ، عليه السلام ( ويهب لمن يشاء الذكور ) أي : يرزقه البنين فقط . قال البغوي : كإبراهيم الخليل ، عليه السلام – لم يولد له أنثى ، . ( أو يزوجهم ذكرانا وإناثا ) أي : ويعطي من يشاء من الناس الزوجين الذكر والأنثى ، أي : من هذا وهذا . قال البغوي : كمحمد ، عليه الصلاة والسلام ( ويجعل من يشاء عقيما ) أي : لا يولد له . قال البغوي : كيحيى وعيسى ، عليهما السلام  ـ

 Allah informs us that He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and the owner of them both, and the controller of what is in them. And He informs us that whatever He wills is, and whatever He does not will is not, and that He grants what He wills and prevents what He wills, and there is none who can prevent what He grants nor is there anyone who can grant what He prevents. And He informs us that He creates what He wills, and: 

يَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ إِنَاثًا

He gives to whom He wills female [children]

– meaning, He provides one with only daughters . Al-Baghawi said, “Included in this category is Loot (‘alaihi al-salaam).”

وَيَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ الذُّكُورَ‌

and He gives to whom He wills males

– meaning, He provides one with only sons. Al-Baghawi said, “Such as Ibrahim al-Khaleel (‘alaihi al-salaam) – no females were born to him. Continue reading

Referring issues back to their experts – Imam al-Sa’di

Allah says in surah al-Nisaa’:

وَإِذَا جَاءَهُمْ أَمْرٌ‌ مِّنَ الْأَمْنِ أَوِ الْخَوْفِ أَذَاعُوا بِهِ ۖ وَلَوْ رَ‌دُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّ‌سُولِ وَإِلَىٰ أُولِي الْأَمْرِ‌ مِنْهُمْ لَعَلِمَهُ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَنبِطُونَهُ مِنْهُمْ ۗ وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّـهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَ‌حْمَتُهُ لَاتَّبَعْتُمُ الشَّيْطَانَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا

And when there comes to them information about [public] security or fear, they spread it around. If only they had referred it back to the Messenger or to those of authority among them, then the ones who [can] draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it. And were it not for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have followed Shaytaan, except for a few. [4:83]

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

هذا تأديب من الله لعباده عن فعلهم هذا غير اللائق. وأنه ينبغي لهم إذا جاءهم أمر من الأمور المهمة والمصالح العامة ما يتعلق بالأمن وسرور المؤمنين، أو بالخوف الذي فيه مصيبة عليهم أن يتثبتوا ولا يستعجلوا بإشاعة ذلك الخبر، بل يردونه إلى الرسول وإلى أولي الأمر منهم، أهلِ الرأي: والعلم والنصح والعقل والرزانة، الذين يعرفون الأمور ويعرفون المصالح وضدها. ـ

This is a chastisement from Allah to His slaves for their committing an act which was inappropriate.[1] And when an issue comes to them from among the issues of importance and public well-being related to (public) safety and the secrets of the believers or concerning fear of a crisis for them, in order that they may be fortified and not take part in spreading that news it is befitting for them that they should refer it back to the Messenger and to those in authority among them – the experts: those of ‘ilm, sincerity, intelligence and poise, those who know the issues and know the pros and cons. Continue reading

“We guided them, but they preferred blindness over guidance”

In surah Fussilaat, Allah briefly mentions some details of the story of the people of Thamud when He says:

وَأَمَّا ثَمُودُ فَهَدَيْنَاهُمْ فَاسْتَحَبُّوا الْعَمَىٰ عَلَى الْهُدَىٰ فَأَخَذَتْهُمْ صَاعِقَةُ الْعَذَابِ الْهُونِ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ * وَنَجَّيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ

And as for Thamud, We guided them, but they preferred blindness over guidance, so the thunderbolt of humiliating punishment seized them for what they used to earn. And We saved those who believed and used to fear Allah. [41:17-18]

Commenting of this, Imam al-Sa’di writes:

وأما ثمود وهم القبيلة المعروفة الذين سكنوا الحجر وحواليه، الذين أرسل اللّه إليهم صالحًا عليه السلام، يدعوهم إلى توحيد ربهم، وينهاهم عن الشرك وآتاهم اللّه الناقة، آية عظيمة، لها شرب ولهم شرب يوم معلوم، يشربون لبنها يومًا ويشربون من الماء يومًا، وليسوا ينفقون عليها، بل تأكل من أرض اللّه،

And as for the Thamud, they were a well-known tribe which resided in al-ijr and thereabouts, to whom Allah sent aalih (‘alaihis salaam). He called them to taweed of their Lord and forbade them from shirk. And Allah gave them the camel as an amazing ayah (sign, miracle). For it was drinking and for them was drinking on known days (i.e. alternating days of access to the water sources for the camel and the people of Thamud). They drank from its milk one day and they drank from the water another day, and they did not spend on it (i.e. its provision). Rather it ate from the land of Allah. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading