Prayer and Sacrifice: Ibn Taymiyah

In part of his commentary on surah al-Kawthar, ibn Taymiyah included the following beautiful points:

وقوله‏:‏ ‏{‏فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ‏}‏ ‏[‏الكوثر‏:‏ 2‏]‏، أمره الله أن يجمع بين هاتين العبادتين العظيمتين، وهما الصلاة والنسك الدالتان على القرب والتواضع والافتقار وحسن الظن، وقوة اليقين، وطمأنينة القلب إلى الله، وإلى عدته وأمره، وفضله، وخلفه، عكس حال أهل الكبر والنفرة وأهل الغني عن الله الذين لا حاجة في صلاتهم إلى ربهم يسألونه إياها، والذين لا ينحرون له خوفًا من الفقر، وتركًا لإعانة الفقراء وإعطائهم، وسوء الظن منهم بربهم؛ ولهذا جمع الله بينهما في قوله تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏قُلْ إِنَّ صَلاَتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ‏}‏ ‏[‏الأنعام‏:‏ 162‏]‏،والنسك هي الذبيحة ابتغاء وجهه‏.‏ ـ

Allah’s statement:

فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ

So pray to your Lord and sacrifice [108:2]

Allah commanded the Prophet to perform both of these great acts of worship, the salah and ritual sacrifice, both of which indicate drawing closer to Allah, humility towards Allah, need for Allah, good thoughts of Allah, utmost certainty in Allah, and a heart at peace with Allah, His promises, His commands, His bounty, and His creation. This is completely opposite to the state of the arrogant ones, the rejecters, those who do not consider themselves in need of Allah, who do not ask Allah for their needs in their prayers, those who do not sacrifice for Allah out of fear of poverty, those who do not help the poor or give to the needy, who have bad expectations of their Lord.

That is why Allah mentioned these two acts of worship together in His statement:

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Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 196-203: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the twentieth installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 196-203. This passage focuses on Hajj and sincerity in worship. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

وَأَتِمُّوا الْحَجَّ وَالْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّهِ ۚ فَإِنْ أُحْصِرْتُمْ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ ۖ وَلَا تَحْلِقُوا رُءُوسَكُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ الْهَدْيُ مَحِلَّهُ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ بِهِ أَذًى مِّن رَّأْسِهِ فَفِدْيَةٌ مِّن صِيَامٍ أَوْ صَدَقَةٍ أَوْ نُسُكٍ ۚ فَإِذَا أَمِنتُمْ فَمَن تَمَتَّعَ بِالْعُمْرَةِ إِلَى الْحَجِّ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ ۚ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلَاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ فِي الْحَجِّ وَسَبْعَةٍ إِذَا رَجَعْتُمْ ۗ تِلْكَ عَشَرَةٌ كَامِلَةٌ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن لَّمْ يَكُنْ أَهْلُهُ حَاضِرِي الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

Complete the Hajj and ‘Umrah for Allah. But if you are prevented, then offer what sacrificial animals can be easily attained. And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal has reached its place. Then whoever of you is sick or has an injury on his head, then his ransom is fasting or charity or sacrifice. Then when you are safe, whoever performs ‘Umrah followed by Hajj, then he should offer what sacrificial animal can be easily attained. But whoever cannot find one, then he should fast three days during the Hajj and seven once he goes back. That is a full ten days. That is for anyone whose family does not live around al-Masjid al-Haram. And have taqwa of Allah, and know that Allah is severe in punishment. [2:196]

وأدُّوا الحج والعمرة تامَّيْنِ، خالصين لوجه الله تعالى. فإن منعكم عن الذهاب لإتمامهما بعد الإحرام بهما مانع كالعدو والمرض، فالواجب عليكم ذَبْحُ ما تيسر لكم من الإبل أو البقر أو الغنم تقربًا إلى الله تعالى؛ لكي تَخْرُجوا من إحرامكم بحلق شعر الرأس أو تقصيره، ولا تحلقوا رؤوسكم إذا كنتم محصرين حتى ينحر المحصر هديه في الموضع الذي حُصر فيه ثم يحل من إحرامه، كما نحر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في الحديبية ثم حلق رأسه، وغير المحصر لا ينحر الهدي إلا في الحرم، الذي هو محله في يوم العيد، اليوم العاشر وما بعده من أيام التشريق. فمن كان منكم مريضًا، أو به أذى من رأسه يحتاج معه إلى الحلق- وهو مُحْرِم- حَلَق، وعليه فدية: بأن يصوم ثلاثة أيام، أو يتصدق على ستة مساكين لكل مسكين نصف صاع من طعام، أو يذبح شاة لفقراء الحرم. فإذا كنتم في أمن وصحَّة: فمن استمتع بالعمرة إلى الحج وذلك باستباحة ما حُرِّم عليه بسبب الإحرام بعد انتهاء عمرته، فعليه ذبح ما تيسر من الهدي، فمن لم يجد هَدْيًا يذبحه فعليه صيام ثلاثة أيام في أشهر الحج، وسبعة إذا فرغتم من أعمال الحج ورجعتم إلى أهليكم، تلك عشرة كاملة لا بد من صيامها. ذلك الهَدْيُ وما ترتب عليه من الصيام لمن لم يكن أهله من ساكني أرض الحرم، وخافوا الله تعالى وحافظوا على امتثال أوامره واجتناب نواهيه، واعلموا أن الله شديد العقاب لمن خالف أمره، وارتكب ما عنه زجر. ـ

196. Perform Hajj and ‘Umrah in times of safety sincerely for the sake of Allah. If you are prevented from completing either of these rituals by some factor such as an enemy or illness after entering the state of ihram for them, then you must sacrifice whatever animal such as a camel, cow, or sheep is easy for you to attain as an act of drawing close to Allah. This is so that you may exit from your state of ihram by shaving or cutting the hair on your head. But do not shave your heads when you have been detained until the detained person has sacrificed his sacrificial animal in the place where he has been detained; then he can exit his state of ihram. This is just as the Prophet made his sacrifice at al-Hudaybiyyah and then shaved his head. But those who are not prevented from completing the Hajj or ‘Umrah can only sacrifice their sacrificial animal in the Haram, which is the place for sacrifice on the day of ‘Eid, the tenth day, and the following days of Tashreeq. Then if any of you are sick or has an injury on his head which would require him to shave his head while in a state of ihram, then he should shave it and he will have to pay a ransom: fasting for three days, or giving charity to six poor people with each of them receiving half a sa’a of food, or sacrificing a sheep to give to the poor people of the Haram. But if you are in a state of security and health, then whoever would like to perform a tamatta’u ‘Umrah leading up to Hajj, and that involves being able to partake of the things that had been forbidden because of his state of ihram after completing his ‘Umrah, then he must sacrifice whatever kind of sacrificial animal is easy for him. But whoever cannot find a sacrificial animal to sacrifice, then he must fast three days during the months of Hajj and seven more days after completing the Hajj rituals and returning to his people. That is a full ten days that he must fast. That sacrificial animal and the fasting related to it are for those whose families are not residents of the Haram area. And fear Allah and be consistent in fulfilling His commands and avoiding His prohibitions, and know that Allah is severe in punishing those who go against His command and commit acts which they have been forbidden from doing.

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The Objective of Hajj: Ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah wrote the following words concerning the purpose of our worship, and Hajj in particular:

والعبادات التي شرعها الله كلها تتضمن إخلاص الدين كله لله تحقيقا لقوله تعالى وما أمروا إلا ليعبدوا الله مخلصين له الدين حنفاء ويقيموا الصلاة ويؤتوا الزكاة وذلك دين القيمة . فالصلاة لله وحده والصدقة لله وحده والصيام لله وحده والحج لله وحده إلى بيت الله وحده فالمقصود من الحج عبادة الله وحده في البقاع التي أمر الله بعبادته فيها ولهذا كان الحج شعار الحنيفية حتى قال طائفة من السلف حنفاء لله أي حجاجا فإن اليهود والنصارى لا يحجون البيت

All of the worship which Allah has legislated is comprised of making the religion exclusively, sincerely and truly for Allah. This is like His statement:

وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّـهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاءَ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ دِينُ الْقَيِّمَةِ

And you have not been commanded except to worship Allah, making the religion exclusively for Him, as monotheists, and to establish the salah and to give the zakah. And that is the upright religion [98:5] Continue reading

“Whoever is Not Able to Stand at ‘Arafah …”: Ibn Rajab

In part of his final comments on Hajj in his book on the events of the Islamic calendar, al-haafidh ibn Rajab al-Hanbali wrote the following beautiful words:

من لم يستطيع الوقوف بعرفه فليقف عند حدود الله الذي عرفه ومن لم يستطيع المبيت في مزدلفه فليبت عزمه علئ طاعه الله ليقربه ويزدلفه ومن لم يقدر على نحر هديه بمنى فليذبح هواهه هنا ليبلغ به المنى ومن لم يستطع الوصول للبيت لانه منه بعيد فليقصد رب البيت فانه اقرب اليه من حبل الوريد . ـ

Whoever is not able to stand at ‘Arafah, then let him come to a standstill at the limits that Allah has set for him!

Whoever is not able to stay the night at Muzdhalifah, then let him stay in a state of obedience to Allah, seeking closeness and nearness to Him!

Whoever is not able to slaughter his sacrificial animal at Mina, then let him slaughter his own lusts and desires so that might achieve that higher aim! Continue reading

Hajj is During Well-Known Months: Tafsir al-Sa’di

While discussing some of the rulings related to Hajj in surah al-Baqarah, Allah informs us that:

الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَّعْلُومَاتٌ ۚ فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ ۗ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّـهُ ۗ وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَىٰ ۚ وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ

Hajj is during well-known months. So whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein, there is no rafath and no fusooq and no jidal during Hajj. And whatever you do of good good – Allah knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is taqwa. So have taqwa, O you of understanding. [2:197]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di explained this ayah in his tafsir by writing:

يخبر تعالى أن { الْحَجَّ } واقع في { أَشْهُرٌ مَعْلُومَاتٌ } عند المخاطبين, مشهورات, بحيث لا تحتاج إلى تخصيص، كما احتاج الصيام إلى تعيين شهره, وكما بين تعالى أوقات الصلوات الخمس. وأما الحج فقد كان من ملة إبراهيم, التي لم تزل مستمرة في ذريته معروفة بينهم. والمراد بالأشهر المعلومات عند جمهور العلماء: شوال, وذو القعدة, وعشر من ذي الحجة, فهي التي يقع فيها الإحرام بالحج غالبا.ـ

Allah informs us that

الْحَجَّ

Hajj …

takes place during

أَشْهُرٌ مَعْلُومَاتٌ

… well-known months

i.e. well-known to those to whom this revelation was originally addressed. Well-known such that there was no need to specify it as had been the case which explicitly naming the month of fasting or how Allah had clarified the times of the five daily prayers. But the Hajj had been part of the religion of Ibrahim which had continued to be practiced among his descendants and was known to them. According to the majority of scholars, the intended meaning of the well-known months is Shawwaal, Dhu’l-Qa’dah, and Dhu’l-Hijjah because these are the months in which people enter in a state of ihram for Hajj for the most part.

ـ { فَمَنْ فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ } أي: أحرم به, لأن الشروع فيه يصيره فرضا, ولو كان نفلا. واستدل بهذه الآية الشافعي ومن تابعه, على أنه لا يجوز الإحرام بالحج قبل أشهره، قلت لو قيل: إن فيها دلالة لقول الجمهور, بصحة الإحرام [بالحج] قبل أشهره لكان قريبا، فإن قوله: { فَمَنْ فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ } دليل على أن الفرض قد يقع في الأشهر المذكورة وقد لا يقع فيها, وإلا لم يقيده. ـ

فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ

So whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein … Continue reading

Assorted Qur’an Benefits #15

What follows is a collection of benefits originally posted on our Facebook page during August and September of 2016, a period which coincided with the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah and the Hajj:

♦ Restraining Oneself from Base Desires

Allah says in surah al-Naazi’aat:

 وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ * فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَىٰ

But as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from desires. * Verily, Paradise will be his abode. [79:40-41]

Commenting on this in his tafsir, Imam al-Baghawi wrote:

عن المحارم التي تشتهيها ، قال مقاتل : هو الرجل يهم بالمعصية فيذكر مقامه للحساب فيتركها

He restrained himself from the forbidden matters which he desired.

Muqatil said: This is a man who was intending to perform an act of disobedience but then he remembered his appointment for the recompense of his deeds and so abandoned doing that act.”

[Tafsir al-Baghawi 8/331]


And If They Turn Away …

In surah al-Maa’idah, Allah instructs His Messenger: Continue reading

Hajj is ‘Arafah: Tafsir ibn Kathir

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kaathir mentioned the following points regarding the Day of ‘Arafah in his tafsir of surah al-Baqarah:

وعرفة : موضع الموقف في الحج ، وهي عمدة أفعال الحج ; ولهذا روى الإمام أحمد ، وأهل السنن ، بإسناد صحيح ، عن الثوري ، عن بكير بن عطاء ، عن عبد الرحمن بن يعمر الديلي ، [ ص: 552 ] قال : سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : ” الحج عرفات – ثلاثا – فمن أدرك عرفة قبل أن يطلع الفجر ، فقد أدرك . وأيام منى ثلاثة ، فمن تعجل في يومين فلا إثم عليه ، ومن تأخر فلا إثم عليه ” . ـ

‘Arafah is a place of standing during the Hajj, and it is one of the pillars of the rituals of the Hajj. In support of this is the hadeeth with a sound chain of narration that was conveyed by Imam Ahmad and authors of the Sunan collections on the authority of al-Thawri, on the authority on Bukayr ibn ‘Ataa’, on the authority of ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Y’amar al-Dayli who said:

I heard Allah’s Messenger say, “Hajj is ‘Arafah” – three times – “so whoever catches ‘Arafah before the rising of dawn, then he has caught the Hajj. And the days of Mina are three, but whoever hastens to leave after two days, then there is no sin upon, and whoever waits, then there is no sin upon him.” Continue reading

Purifying the Ka’bah: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In surah al-Hajj, Allah informs us of his command to Ibrahim to purify the Ka’bah:

 وَإِذْ بَوَّأْنَا لِإِبْرَاهِيمَ مَكَانَ الْبَيْتِ أَن لَّا تُشْرِكْ بِي شَيْئًا وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْقَائِمِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ

And when We designated for Ibrahim the site of the House, [saying], “Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand and those who bow and prostrate. [22:26]

al-haafidh ibn Kathir commented on this ayah in his tafsir by writing:

( وطهر بيتي ) قال مجاهد وقتادة : من الشرك ، ( للطائفين والقائمين والركع السجود ) أي : اجعله خالصا لهؤلاء الذين يعبدون الله وحده لا شريك له . فالطائف به معروف ، وهو أخص العبادات عند البيت ، فإنه لا يفعل ببقعة من الأرض سواها ، ( والقائمين ) أي : في الصلاة; ولهذا قال : ( والركع السجود ) فقرن الطواف بالصلاة; لأنهما لا يشرعان إلا مختصين بالبيت ، فالطواف عنده ، والصلاة إليه في غالب الأحوال ، إلا ما استثني من الصلاة عند اشتباه القبلة وفي الحرب ، وفي النافلة في السفر ، والله أعلم .ـ

وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ

And purify My House …

Mujahid and Qatadah said this means: purify it from al-Shirk.

لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْقَائِمِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ

… for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand and those who bow and prostrate.

meaning: make this House exclusively for those who worship Allah alone without associating any partners with Him. Continue reading

Which are More Virtuous, the First Ten of Dhu’l-Hijjah or the Last Ten of Ramadan?

A question was posed to Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah: Which are more virtuous, the first ten of Dh’ul-Hijjah or the last ten of Ramadan? So he replied:

أيام عشر ذي الحجة أفضل من أيام العشر من رمضان، والليالي العشر الأواخر من رمضان أفضل من ليالي عشر ذي الحجة

The days of the first ten of Dhu’l-Hijjah are more virtuous than the days of the last ten of Ramadan while the nights of the last ten of Ramadan are more virtuous than the nights of the first ten of Dhu’l-Hijjah.

[Majmoo’ al-Fataawa 25/154]

Ibn Taymiyah’s student Ibn al-Qayyim commented and elaborated upon his teacher’s response in one of his own works by writing:

وإذا تأمل الفاضل اللبيب هذا الجواب وجده شافيا كافيا، فإنه ليس من أيام العمل فيها أحب إلى الله من أيام عشر ذي الحجة. وفيها يوم عرفة ويوم النحر ويوم التروية. وأما ليالي عشر رمضان فهي ليالي الأحياء التي كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يحييها كلها، وفيها ليلة خير من ألف شهر. فمن أجاب بغير هذا التفصيل، لم يمكنه أن يدلي بحجة صحيحة

If an honorable and sensible person were to consider this answer, he would find it to be comprehensive and sufficient. Indeed, there are no days in which deeds are more beloved to Allah than the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah – and they contain the Day of ‘Arafah, the Day of the Sacrifice, and the Day of Tarwiyah [the 9th, 10th, and 8th days, respectively]. Continue reading

The Three Legislated ‘Eids for the Believers: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

In his discussion of the virtue of the Day of ‘Arafah and the Day of Sacrifice (the 9th and 10th days of the month of Dhu’l-Hijjah, respectively), Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali wrote the following:

في الصحيحين عن عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه أن رجلا من اليهود له: يا أمير المؤمنين آية في كتابكم لو علينا معشر اليهود نزلت لا تخذنا اليهود نزلت لا تخذنا ذلك اليوم عيدا فقال: أي آية: قال: {الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْأِسْلامَ دِيناً} [المائدة: 3] فقال عمر: إني لأعلم اليوم الذي نزلت فيه والمكان الذي نزلت فيه: نزلت ورسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قائم بعرفة يوم الجمعة وخرج الترمذي عن ابن عباس نحوه وقال فيه: نزلت في يوم عيد من يوم جمعة ويوم عرفة. ـ

It comes in the Saheehayn on the authority of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab that a man from the Jews said to him, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, there is an ayah in your book that if it were to have been revealed to we Jewish people, then the Jews would have taken that day as an ‘Eid.” So he said, “Which ayah is that?” He replied:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَ‌ضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا

This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion [5:3]

So ‘Umar said, “Indeed, I know the day on which it was revealed and the place in which it was revealed: it was revealed while the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was standing at ‘Arafah on the day of Jumu’ah.”

The likes of this was narrated by al-Tirmidhi on the authority of ibn ‘Abbaas and he said about it, “It was revealed during a day of ‘Eid – the day of Jumu’ah and the day of ‘Arafah.”

والعيد هو موسم الفرح والسرور وأفراح المؤمنين وسرورهم في الدنيا إنما هو بمولاهم إذا فازوا بإكمال طاعته وحازوا ثواب أعمالهم بوثوقهم بوعده لهم عليها بفضله ومغفرته كما قال تعالى: {قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ} [يونس: 58] قال بعض العارفين: ما فرح أحد بغير الله إلا بغفلته عن الله فالغافل يفرح بلهوه وهواه والعاقل يفرح بمولاه وأنشد سمنون في هذا المعنى: ـ

And the ‘Eid is a time of joy and happiness, and the joys and happinesses of the believers in this worldly life are only in their Lord when they achieve the completion of obedience to Him and attain the rewards of their deeds with their being certain of His promise of those rewards to them due to His bounty and forgiveness. This is as He has said:

قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ

Say, “In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate.” [10:58]

And one of the cognizant ones said, “What joy does one have in other than Allah except out of his own heedlessness of Allah?” For the heedless one rejoices in his idle amusements and desires while the intelligent one rejoices in his Lord. Continue reading