Taking the Means to Allah’s Forgiveness: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-Nisaa’, Allah informs us of the following:

 إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا * وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبْتُ الْآنَ وَلَا الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا

The forgiveness on Allah’s part is only for those who do wrong in ignorance and then repent soon after. It is those to whom Allah will turn in forgiveness, and Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. * But forgiveness is not for those who do evil deeds up until, when death comes to one of them, he says, “Indeed, I repent now,” or of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful punishment. [4:17-18]

Commenting on this in his well-known book of tafsir, Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

توبة الله على عباده نوعان: توفيق منه للتوبة، وقبول لها بعد وجودها من العبد، فأخبر هنا -أن التوبة المستحقة على الله حق أحقه على نفسه، كرما منه وجودا، لمن عمل السوء أي: المعاصي { بِجَهَالَةٍ } أي: جهالة منه بعاقبتها وإيجابها لسخط الله وعقابه، وجهل منه بنظر الله ومراقبته له، وجهل منه بما تئول إليه من نقص الإيمان أو إعدامه، فكل عاص لله، فهو جاهل بهذا الاعتبار وإن كان عالما بالتحريم. بل العلم بالتحريم شرط لكونها معصية معاقبا عليها . ـ

Allah’s turning towards His slaves in forgiveness fall into two categories:

  1. Granting them the accord to make repentance, and
  2. Accepting their repentance from them after they have made it.

And here, Allah is informing us that the forgiveness which is incumbent upon Allah is a duty which He has enjoined upon Himself as a form of generosity and munificence from Him to whomever commits an evil deed – meaning an act of disobedience –


in ignorance

meaning: while being ignorant of the displeasure and punishment of Allah that it entails and necessitates, and while being ignorant of Allah’s watchfulness over him, and while being ignorant of the decrease or obliteration of eemaan which it causes. Every one who disobeys Allah is ignorant of these considerations, even if he knows of the prohibition. In fact, knowledge of the prohibited nature of an act is a condition that must be in place for that act of disobedience to result in punishment.

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Marriage in the Qur’an pt.2 – Rights of Wives: Imam al-Sa’di

In his book of thematic tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di dedicated a chapter of his book to the issues related to marriage. This series of articles will present the different sub-divisions of this chapter in order. This is the second section, click the links the visit the other sections: 12345678 – 9 – 10

ـ {  يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَن تَرِ‌ثُوا النِّسَاءَ كَرْ‌هًا ۖ وَلَا تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ لِتَذْهَبُوا بِبَعْضِ مَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ إِلَّا أَن يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ ۚ وَعَاشِرُ‌وهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُ‌وفِ ۚ فَإِن كَرِ‌هْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَ‌هُوا شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللَّـهُ فِيهِ خَيْرً‌ا كَثِيرً‌ا  } إلى قوله: {  مِّيثَاقًا غَلِيظًا }  [ النساء: 19 – 21 ].ـ

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَن تَرِ‌ثُوا النِّسَاءَ كَرْ‌هًا ۖ وَلَا تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ لِتَذْهَبُوا بِبَعْضِ مَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ إِلَّا أَن يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ ۚ وَعَاشِرُ‌وهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُ‌وفِ ۚ فَإِن كَرِ‌هْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَ‌هُوا شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللَّـهُ فِيهِ خَيْرً‌ا كَثِيرً‌ا * وَإِنْ أَرَ‌دتُّمُ اسْتِبْدَالَ زَوْجٍ مَّكَانَ زَوْجٍ وَآتَيْتُمْ إِحْدَاهُنَّ قِنطَارً‌ا فَلَا تَأْخُذُوا مِنْهُ شَيْئًا ۚ أَتَأْخُذُونَهُ بُهْتَانًا وَإِثْمًا مُّبِينًا * وَكَيْفَ تَأْخُذُونَهُ وَقَدْ أَفْضَىٰ بَعْضُكُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَأَخَذْنَ مِنكُم مِّيثَاقًا غَلِيظًا 

O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will, and you should not treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them, unless they commit open illegal sexual intercourse. And live with them honorably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good. * But if you intend to replace a wife by another and you have given one of them a a great amount of gold as a dowry, take not the least bit of it back; would you take it wrongfully without a right and (with) a manifest sin? * And how could you take it (back) while you have gone in unto each other, and they have taken from you a firm and strong covenant? [4:19-21]

كان أهل الجاهلية إذا مات أحدهم ورثت زوجته عنه كما يورث ماله، فرأى قريبه كأخيه وابن عمه أنه أحق بها من نفسها، ويحجرها عن غيره، فإن رضي بها تزوجها على غير صداق، أو على صداق يحبه هو دونها، وإن لم يرض بزواجها عضلها ومنعها من الأزواج إلا بعوض من الزوج أو منها . ـ

It used to be the case for the people of pre-Islamic ignorance that when one of them would die his wife would be inherited just as his wealth would be inherited, so one of his close relatives – for instance his brother or paternal cousin – would consider himself to have more of a right to her than even she had of herself and so he would prevent her from going to anyone else. So if he was pleased with her, then he would wed her without giving her any dowry or with a dowry which pleased him but not her. However if he didn’t wish to marry her then he would make things difficult for her and prevent her from marriage unless he was provided with some compensation from the suitor or from her herself.

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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

Four things for you and Three things against you

Imam al-Qurtubi mentioned the following statement of the taabi’ and scholar of al-Shaam Makḥool[1] (d. 112 or 133AH) in his tafsir of surah al-Nisaa’ (4:147):

وقال مكحول: أربع من كن فيه كن له، وثلاث من كن فيه كن عليه، فالأربع اللاتي له: فالشكر والايمان والدعاء والاستغفار، قال الله تعالى: {ما يَفْعَلُ اللَّهُ بِعَذابِكُمْ إِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ وَآمَنْتُمْ} وقال الله تعالى: {وَما كانَ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنْتَ فِيهِمْ وَما كانَ اللَّهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ} وقال تعالى: {قُلْ ما يَعْبَؤُا بِكُمْ رَبِّي لَوْلا دُعاؤُكُمْ}. .ـ

There are four things that whoever has them has them in his favor, and there are three things that whoever has them has them against him.

The four things which are in his favor are: 1) gratitude, 2) eemaan, 3) supplication and 4) seeking forgiveness.

Allah said (1 & 2):

 مَا يَفْعَلُ اللَّهُ بِعَذَابِكُمْ إِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ وَآمَنْتُمْ

Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked (Him) and have believed in Him? [4:147].

And Allah said (4):

وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنْتَ فِيهِمْ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ

and Allah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness [8:33].

And He said (3): Continue reading

Four Means of Attaining Allah’s Forgiveness: Imam al-Sa’di

While mentioning some of the benefits derived from the story of Moosaa and Haaroon, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di mentions the following point of clarity and great benefit:

ومنها : أن قوله تعالى :  < وَإِنِّي لَغَفَّارٌ‌ لِّمَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا ثُمَّ اهْتَدَىٰ > استوعب الله بها الأسباب التي تدرك بها مغفرة الله . ـ

And from the benefits is that Allah’s statement:

وَإِنِّي لَغَفَّارٌ‌ لِّمَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا ثُمَّ اهْتَدَىٰ

But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance. [20:82]

With this statement Allah comprises all of the means by which the forgiveness of Allah is reached.

أحدها: التوبة، وهو الرجوع عما يكرهه الله ظاهرا وباطنا إلى ما يحبه الله ظاهرا وباطنا، وهي تَجُبُّ ما قبلها من الذنوب صغارها وكبارها. ـ

First: al-Tawbah (repentance), and that is returning from what Allah hates – both outwardly and inwardly – back towards what Allah loves – both outwardly and inwardly. And this is in respond to what previously occurred in terms of both major and minor sins. Continue reading

The relationship between al-Tawheed and al-istighfaar: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

In his discussion of the conclusion of the month of Ramadan, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali mentions the following points of benefit concerning the relationship between al-Tawheed and al-istighfaar (seeking Allah’s forgiveness). After mentioning some notes concerning what is conducive to freeing oneself from the hell-fire during Ramadan, he writes:

و فيه أيضا : [ فاستكثروا فيه من أربع خصال : خصلتين ترضون بها ربكم و خصلتين لا غناء لكم عنهما فأما الخصلتان اللتان ترضون بهما ربكم : شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله و الإستغفار و أما اللتان لا غناء لكم عنهما : فتسألون الله الجنة و تستعيذون به من النار ] فهذه الخصال الأربعة المذكورة في الحديث كل منها سبب العتق و المغفرة : فأما كلمة التوحيد : فإنها تهدم الذنوب و تمحوها محوا و لا تبقي ذنبا و لا يسبقها عمل و هي تعدل عتق الرقاب الذي يوجب العتق من النار و من أتى بها أربع مرار حين يصبح و حين يمسي أعتقه الله من النار و من قالها مخلصا من قلبه حرمه الله على النار

And on this topic also is, “So be prolific in four characteristics: Two characteristics by which you please your Lord, and two characteristics which you cannot do without. As for the two characteristics by which you please your Lord – they are they shahaadah that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah, and al-istighfaar [seeking Allah’s forgiveness]. And as for the two which you cannot do without – they are your asking Allah for al-jannah and seeking refuge in Him from the Hell-fire.” So all four of the aforementioned characteristics in this statement are causes of emancipation and forgiveness. As for the kalimah al-tawheed (i.e. the shahaadah), then verily it destroys sins and completely erases them and sin does not remain, and no action precedes it [in virtue]. It is equivalent to freeing a slave, which necessitates the freeing of one from the Fire.

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Avoid the sins which prevent forgiveness and the acceptance of du’a: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

In his chapter on the month of Sha’baan in Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali devotes some space to a discussion of the night of the Middle of Sha’baan, the authenticity of various ahaadeeth which mention it, and the appropriate actions to be taken during it. All of this can be read here.

Continuing on that topic, Ibn Rajab gives a discussion of some of the actions mentioned in the ahaadeeth about the middle of Sha’baan which prevent one from receiving the forgiveness of Allah therein. While his writing on the topic is in the context of the night of the Middle of Sha’baan, the benefits are general as these are actions which should be avoided at all times. Below is his discussion:

ويتعيّن على المسلم أن يجتنب الذنوب التي تمنع من المغفرة وقبول الدعاء في تلك اليلة. وقد وري أنّه : الشرك ، وقتل النفس ، والزنا ؛ وهذه الثلاثة أعظم الذنوب عند الله عز وجل ، كما في حديث ابن مسعود المتفق على صحتة ، أنه سأل النبي ﷺ : أي الذنب أعظم؟ قال : أن تجعل الله ندّا وهو خلقك . قال : ثمّ أي؟ قال : أن تقتل ولدك خشية أن يطعم معك . قال : ثمّ أي؟ قال : أن تزاني حليلة جارك . فأنزل الله تعالى تصديق ذلك : وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّـهِ إِلَـٰهًا آخَرَ‌ وَلَا يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّ‌مَ اللَّـهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا يَزْنُونَ ، الآية .

It behooves the Muslim to avoid the sins which prevent one from forgiveness and from the acceptance of one’s supplications during that night [i.e. the night of the middle of Sha’baan]. And it has been narrated that they are: al-Shirk, killing someone, and al-zina, and these are the three greatest sins in the sight of Allah ‘azza wa jall, as is mentioned in the hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood – and al-Bukhari and Muslim concurred on its authenticity – that he asked the Prophet (ﷺ),

“Which sin is greatest?” He replied, “That you would make partners with Allah while it is He who created you.” He said, “Then what?” He replied, “That you would kill your child out of fear that it would eat with you.” He said, “Then what?” He replied, “That you would commit zina with your neighbor’s wife.” And Allah revealed something attesting to that: “And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty.” (25:68) [al-Bukhari #6001] Continue reading

4 of the rewards of al-Taqwa: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah addressed his believing slaves in surah al-Anfaal when He says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ تَتَّقُوا اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ فُرْقَانًا وَيُكَفِّرْ عَنْكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ‏‏

O you who have believed, if you fear Allah , He will grant you a furqan [criterion] and will remove from you your misdeeds and forgive you. And Allah is the possessor of great bounty. [8:29]

In his book of tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote the following about this ayah:

امتثال العبد لتقوى ربه عنوان السعادة، وعلامة الفلاح، وقد رتب اللّه على التقوى من خير الدنيا والآخرة شيئا كثيرا،فذكر هنا أن من اتقى اللّه حصل له أربعة أشياء، كل واحد منها خير من الدنيا وما فيها‏:‏

The slave’s adherence to having taqwa of his Lord is the epitome of ultimate joy, and a marker of success. And Allah has caused an abundance of good things in both this life and in the hereafter to follow from having al-taqwa, and here that whoever has taqwa of Allah, then that will bring about these four things, each of which being a source of good in this worldly life and what it contains:

الأول‏:‏ الفرقان‏:‏ وهو العلم والهدى الذي يفرق به صاحبه بين الهدى والضلال، والحق والباطل، والحلال والحرام، وأهل السعادة من أهل الشقاوة‏.‏

Firstly: al-Furqan, and that is knowledge and guidance by which its possessors can distinguish between guidance and and misguidance, between the truth and falsehood, between the halaal and haraam, and between the people of ultimate joy and the people of ultimate misery.

الثاني والثالث‏:‏ تكفير السيئات، ومغفرة الذنوب، وكل واحد منهما داخل في الآخر عند الإطلاق وعند الاجتماع يفسر تكفير السيئات بالذنوب الصغائر، ومغفرة الذنوب بتكفير الكبائر‏.‏

Secondly and thirdly: The expiation of sins, and forgiveness of sins. Each of these is included in the other when they are mentioned independently, however when they are mentioned together, the expiation of sins is explained as referring to minor sins, while the forgiveness of sins refers to the annulment of major sins.

الرابع‏:‏ الأجر العظيم والثواب الجزيل لمن اتقاه وآثر رضاه على هوى نفسه‏.‏ ‏{‏وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ‏}‏

Fourthly: The great recompense and wonderful reward for those have had taqwa of Him and prioritized His pleasure over their own desires.

‏وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ‏

And Allah is the possessor of great bounty

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 362]

For another explanation of this same ayah, see also: “If you have taqwa of Allah, He will grant you a Furqan”: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

For further explanation of this ayah, see the comments of Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen – a student of Imam al-Sa’di – here: 3 benefits that are a result of having Taqwa -Shaykh ibn al-’Uthaymeen

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

See also: The outcomes of Taqwa and truthful speech: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Four Means of Attaining Allah’s Forgiveness: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: Allah legislated the religion for His remembrance: Imam al-Sa’di