Praise for Tafsir al-Tabari from Great Scholars of the Past

In his handbook to the Qur’anic sciences, Jalal al-Deen al-Suyooti concluded an overview of the famous scholars of tafsir of the past and their books by writing the following high praise for the great mufassir, Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (died 310AH/932CE) and his famous book of tafsir commonly referred to as Tafsir al-Tabari or Tafsir ibn Jarir:

فِإِنْ قُلْتَ : فَأَيُّ التَّفَاسِيرِ تُرْشِدُ إِلَيْهِ وَتَأْمُرُ النَّاظِرَ أَنْ يُعَوِّلَ عَلَيْهِ ؟ قُلْتُ : تَفْسِيرُ الْإِمَامِ أَبِي جَعْفَرِ بْنِ جَرِيرٍ الطَّبَرِيِّ الَّذِي أَجْمَعَ الْعُلَمَاءُ الْمُعْتَبَرُونَ عَلَى أَنَّهُ لَمْ يُؤَلَّفْ فِي التَّفْسِيرِ مِثْلُهُ . قَالَ النَّوَوِيُّ فِي تَهْذِيبِهِ : كِتَابُ ابْنِ جَرِيرٍ فِي التَّفْسِيرِ لَمْ يُصَنِّفْ أَحَدٌ مِثْلَهُ .ـ

If one were to ask, “Which book of tafsir would you recommend for someone looking for something to rely on?” then I would say: the Tafsir of the Imam Abu Ja’far ibn Jarir al-Tabari. All the scholars worth any consideration agree that there hasn’t been anything else like it written in the field of tafsir.

al-Nawawi said in al-Tahdheeb, “The Tafsir of ibn Jarir – no one has authored anything like it.”

[al-Itqan 2/476]

al-Suyooti highlighted one of the reasons for the great merit of ibn Jarir and his tafsir earlier in the same discussion when he wrote: Continue reading

Reflecting on the Wonders of Allah’s Creation: Sheikh Faisal Aal Mubarak

In his brief explanation of al-Nawawi’s Riyadh al-Saliheen, Sheikh Faisal Aal Mubarak provided the following valuable comments about a recurring theme in the Qur’an:

باب التفكير في عظيم مخلوقات الله تَعَالَى وفناء الدنيا وأهوال الآخرة وسائر أمورهما وتقصيرنفس وتهذيبها وحملها عَلَى الاستقامة
Chapter: Reflecting on the Wonders of Allah’s Creation, the Passing Nature of this Worldly Life, the Terrors of the Hereafter and other related matters. Also, Recognizing One’s Own Deficiencies, Removing Them and Motivating Oneself to Be Upright

التفكر في المخلوقات: كالعرش، والكرسي، والسماء والأرض يدل على كمال الخالق وعظمته. ـ

Reflecting on the Wonders of Allah’s Creation – such as the ‘Arsh – the Throne, the Kursi – the Footstool, the sky and the earth. All of these things point to the grandeur and complete perfection of the Creator.

وفي الحديث: «ما السماء والأرض، وما بينهما في العرش إلا كحلقة أُلْقيتْ في فلاة من الأرض» ، وقد قال الله تعالى: {وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ وَالأَرْضُ جَمِيعاً قَبْضَتُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَالسَّماوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ} [الزمر (67) ] .” ـ

There is a hadith:

The heavens and the earth in comparison to the kursi are like a plate of armor in the midst of a desert, and the kursi in comparison to the Throne is itself like a plate of armor in the midst of a desert.

And Allah said:

وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ وَالأَرْضُ جَمِيعاً قَبْضَتُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَالسَّماوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal, while He will take the entire earth within His grip on the Day of Resurrection and the heavens will be folded in His right hand. Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him. [39:67]

والتفكُّر في فناء الدنيا: يبعثه على الزهد فيها، والإِقبال على الآخرة. ـ

Reflecting on the Passing Nature of this Worldly Life – this promotes more self-restraint when it comes to pursuing the pleasures of this worldly life, instead turning one’s attention to the hereafter.

Continue reading

A Brief Discussion of Sabr in the Qur’an: Sheikh Faisal Aal Mubarak

In many of the chapters in Riyadh al-Saliheen, Imam al-Nawawi would begin with some relevant ayaat before listing the hadith narrations he had selected. Sheikh Faisal Aal Mubarak added some valuable commentary of these ayaat in his explanation of Riyadh al-Saliheen. The original text from al-Nawawi will be in blue, and the commentary will be in black:

باب الصبر
Chapter on Sabr [Steadfast Patience]

قال الله تعالى : {يا أيها الذين آمنوا اصبروا وصابروا} ((آل عمران : 200) ـ

Allah said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اصْبِرُوا وَصَابِرُوا

O you who believe, persevere and endure … [3:200]

الصبر ثلاثة أنواع : صبر على طاعة الله ، وصبر عن محارم الله ، وصبر على أقدار الله وقد أمر الله تعالى بالصبر على ذلك كله . ـ

There are three types of sabr:

Sabr in obedience to Allah

Sabr against the prohibitions of Allah

Sabr in the face of the divine decrees of Allah

and Allah has commanded us to have sabr in all of these things. Continue reading

When Repentance Will No Longer Be Accepted: Sheikh Faisal Aal Mubarak

Since it was authored by Imam Abu Zakariyyah Yahya al-Nawawi (d. 676Ah/1277CE), the book Riyadh al-Saliheen has been a hadith collection in constant circulation among the Muslims due the great benefits that it contains. As a result, numerous explanations have been given and written for this book. One such explanation was that of sheikh Faisal Aal Mubarak (d. 1376Ah/1957CE). Like his explanations of many other essential works, sheikh Faisal’s commentary here is very direct and selective. We have marked the original text of Riyah al-Saliheen in blue, and sheikh Faisal’s commentary is in black:

ـ 17 – وعن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال : قال رسول الله ﷺ : ” من تاب قبل أن تطلع الشمس من مغربها تاب الله عليه” . ((رواه مسلم)) . ـ

17. On the authority of Abu Hurayrah, he said that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

Whoever turns in repentance before the sun rises from the west, Allah will turn in to him in forgiveness.

Reported by Muslim.

قبول التوبة مستمر ما دام باب مفتوحا ، فإذ إغلق لم تقبل . قال الله تعالى : [يَوْمَ يَأْتِي بَعْضُ آيَاتِ رَبِّكَ لَا يَنفَعُ نَفْسًا إِيمَانُهَا لَمْ تَكُنْ آمَنَتْ مِن قَبْلُ أَوْ كَسَبَتْ فِي إِيمَانِهَا خَيْرًا] (الانعام 158) يعني إذا طلعت الشمس من مغربا لم ينفع الكافر إيمانه ولا العاصي توبته . ـ

The acceptance of repentance is ongoing as long as the door of repentance is open, but when that door is closed it will not be accepted.

Allah said: Continue reading

The Different Frequencies of Completing the Qur’an

Sheikh Muhammad Moosaa Aal Nasr, one of the salafi scholars of recent times who specialized in the qiraa’aat and Qur’anic sciences, compiled the following beneficial discussion on how often one should complete a reading of the entire Qur’an. Sheikh Muhammad Moosaa was also a long-term student of sheikh al-Albani and limited himself to only using authentic hadith narrations throughout this chapter:

مراتب ختم القرآن
The Different Frequencies of Completing the Qur’an

قال الله تعالى : (فَاقْرَءُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنْهُ) [المزمل 20] .  ـ

Allah said:

فَاقْرَءُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنْهُ

So recite whatever of it is easy for you of the Qur’an [73:20]

عن ابن عمر رضي الله عنهما قال : قال رسول الله (إقرأ القرآن في أربعين) . ـ

Ibn ‘Umar said: Allah’s Messenger said, “Complete the Qur’an in 40 days.”

وعن سعد ابن المنذر أن رسول الله قال : (إقرأ القرآن في ثلاث إن استطعت) . ـ

Sa’d ibn al-Mundhir relayed that Allah’s Messenger said, “Complete the Qur’an in three days if you can.”

و عن عبد الله ابن عمر رضي الله عنهما : أن رسول الله قال : (لم يفقه من قرأ القرآن في أقل من ثلاث) .  ـ

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar relayed that Allah’s Messenger said, “Whoever completes the Qur’an in less than three days has not understood it.”

وله شاهد صحيح من حديث عبد الله ابن مسعود عند سعيد بن منصور: (اقرؤوا القرآن في السبع ، ولا تقرؤوه في أقل من ثلاث) . ـ

And in the hadith collection of Sa’eed ibn Mansoor there is an authentic support for this in the hadith of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood, “Complete the Qur’an in seven days, and do not complete it in less than three days.” Continue reading

“Allah commanded me to recite to you”: Sharh al-Nawawi

It is reported in both al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Qatadah that Anas ibn Malik said:

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ لأُبَىٍّ ‏”‏ إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَمَرَنِي أَنْ أَقْرَأَ عَلَيْكَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ آللَّهُ سَمَّانِي لَكَ قَالَ ‏”‏ اللَّهُ سَمَّاكَ لِي ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَجَعَلَ أُبَىٌّ يَبْكِي ‏.‏

The Prophet said to Ubay, “Allah has commanded me to recite to you.” Ubay said, “Did Allah mention me by name to you?” The Prophet replied, “Allah mentioned you by name to me.” Anas said: That caused Ubay to cry.

[Muslim #799]

And in the narration of al-Bukhari, there is an addition to the end of the hadith from one of the subnarrators:

قَالَ قَتَادَةُ فَأُنْبِئْتُ أَنَّهُ قَرَأَ عَلَيْهِ ‏{‏لَمْ يَكُنِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ‏}

Qatadah said: I was told that the Prophet recited surah al-Bayyinah (97) to him.

[al-Bukhari #4960]

In his commentary on Saheeh Muslim, Imam Abu Zakariyyah Yahya al-Nawawi mentioned the following commentary on this hadith:

وفي الحديث فوائد كثيرة . منها : استحباب قراءة القرآن على الحذاق فيه وأهل العلم به والفضل ، وإن كان القارئ أفضل من المقروء عليه ، ومنها : المنقبة الشريفة لأبي بقراءة النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – عليه ، ولا يعلم أحد من الناس شاركه في هذا ، ومنها : منقبة أخرى له بذكر الله تعالى له ، ونصه عليه في هذه المنزلة الرفيعة ، ومنها : البكاء للسرور والفرح مما يبشر الإنسان به ويعطاه من معالي الأمور . ـ

There are a number of benefits to be found in this hadith.

One benefit is the encouragement to recite the Qur’an to someone who is skilled in it, a person of knowledge and virtue. That is the case even if the one reciting is more virtuous than the one to whom he is reciting. Continue reading

The Themes of Surah Qaaf and When to Recite it: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In the beginning of his explanation of surah Qaaf, after discussing how the Sahabah used to divide their reading of the Qur’an, al-haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir mentioned a number of narrations about when the Prophet used to recite surah Qaaf and its major themes:

قال الإمام أحمد : حدثنا عبد الرحمن بن مهدي ، حدثنا مالك ، عن ضمرة بن سعيد ، عن عبيد الله بن عبد الله ; أن عمر بن الخطاب سأل أبا واقد الليثي : ما كان رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – يقرأ في العيد ؟ قال : بقاف ، واقتربت . ـ

Imam Ahmad relayed … that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab asked Abu Waaqid al-Laythi, “What did Allah’s Messenger used to recite for the ‘Eid?” He replied, “Qaaf (50) and Iqtarabat [i.e. surah al-Qamar (54)].”

ورواه مسلم وأهل السنن الأربعة ، من حديث مالك ، به . وفي رواية لمسلم عن فليح عن ضمرة ، عن عبيد الله ، عن أبي واقد قال : سألني عمر ، فذكره . ـ

Muslim and the authors of the four Sunan relayed a hadith from Maalik to this effect. And in the narration of Muslim … on the authority of Abu Waaqid, who said, “‘Umar asked me…” and then he mentioned the rest of the hadith.

حديث آخر : وقال أحمد : حدثنا يعقوب ، حدثنا أبي ، عن ابن إسحاق ، حدثني عبد الله بن محمد بن أبي بكر بن عمرو بن حزم ، عن يحيى بن عبد الله بن عبد الرحمن بن سعد بن زرارة ، عن أم هشام بنت حارثة قالت : لقد كان تنورنا وتنور النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – واحدا سنتين ، أو سنة وبعض سنة ، وما أخذت ( ق والقرآن المجيد ) إلا على لسان رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – كان يقرؤها كل يوم جمعة على المنبر إذا خطب الناس . ـ

رواه مسلم [ أيضا ] من حديث ابن إسحاق ، به . ـ

In another hadith, Ahmad relayed … that Umm Hishaam ibn Haarithah said: Continue reading

Generosity and Studying the Qur’an during Ramadan – Ibn Hajr

In Saheeh al-Bukhari, in the Book of Wahyi (Revelation), Ibn ‘Abbaas is recorded as saying:

كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَجْوَدَ النَّاسِ، وَكَانَ أَجْوَدُ مَا يَكُونُ فِي رَمَضَانَ حِينَ يَلْقَاهُ جِبْرِيلُ، وَكَانَ يَلْقَاهُ فِي كُلِّ لَيْلَةٍ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ فَيُدَارِسُهُ الْقُرْآنَ، فَلَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَجْوَدُ بِالْخَيْرِ مِنَ الرِّيحِ الْمُرْسَلَةِ

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was the most generous of people, and he was even more generous in Ramadan when Jibreel used to meet him. Every night of Ramadan Jibreel used to come to him and the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would study the Qur’an with him. So the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was more generous in giving good than the blowing wind.

[Saheeh al-Bukhari #6]

In part of his commentary on this hadeeth, Ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalaani wrote:

قوله : ( فيدارسه القرآن ) ـ

His statement, “So he would study the Qur’an with him“.

قيل الحكمة فيه أن مدارسة القرآن تجدد له العهد بمزيد غنى النفس ، والغنى سبب الجود . والجود في الشرع إعطاء ما ينبغي لمن ينبغي ، وهو أعم من الصدقة . ـ

It is said that the wisdom in this is that studying the Qur’an refreshed his knowledge by increasing in a feeling of self-contentedness, and contentedness is a cause of generosity. And al-Jood (generosity) according to the religious terminology is: giving what is appropriate to whom it is appropriate, and this is more general than al-sadaqah.

وأيضا فرمضان موسم الخيرات ; لأن نعم الله على عباده فيه زائدة على غيره ، فكان النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – يؤثر متابعة سنة الله في عباده . ـ

And also, Ramadan is a season of goodnesses, for Allah has blessed His slaves with an increase (of good) therein compared to other times, so the Prophet (ﷺ) imitated following Allah’s sunnah with His slaves.

And ibn Hajr also wrote: Continue reading

Every one of you is a shepherd – Sharh al-Nawawi

Imam Muslim records the hadeeth of the Prophet in his Saheeh:

أَلاَ كُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ وَكُلُّكُمْ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ فَالأَمِيرُ الَّذِي عَلَى النَّاسِ رَاعٍ وَهُوَ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ وَالرَّجُلُ رَاعٍ عَلَى أَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ وَهُوَ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْهُمْ وَالْمَرْأَةُ رَاعِيَةٌ عَلَى بَيْتِ بَعْلِهَا وَوَلَدِهِ وَهِيَ مَسْئُولَةٌ عَنْهُمْ وَالْعَبْدُ رَاعٍ عَلَى مَالِ سَيِّدِهِ وَهُوَ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْهُ أَلاَ فَكُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ وَكُلُّكُمْ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ

Beware – every one of you is a shepherd and every one is answerable in regards to his flock. The leader is a shepherd over the people and shall be questioned concerning his subjects . A man is a shepherd over the members of his family and shall be questioned concerning them. A woman is a shepherd over the household of her husband and his children and shall be questioned concerning them. A slave is a shepherd over the property of his master and shall be questioned concerning it. Beware, every one of you is a shepherd and every one of you shall be questioned with regard to his trust.

[Muslim #1829]

Imam al-Nawawi writes in his explanation of Saheeh Muslim:
قوله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ( كلكم راع وكلكم مسئول عن رعيته ) قال العلماء : الراعي هو الحافظ المؤتمن الملتزم صلاح ما قام عليه ، وما هو تحت نظره ، ففيه أن كل من كان تحت نظره شيء فهو مطالب بالعدل فيه ، والقيام بمصالحه في دينه ودنياه ومتعلقاته . ـ
“The Prophet’s statement, ‘All of you are shepherds and all of you are responsible for your flocks’ – the scholars say: The shepherd is the entrusted guardian who is committed to the rectitude of whatever he is in charge of and whatever is under his watch. So therefore whoever is under his watch at all, then it deserves justice from him and the establishment of benefits in terms of its deen and dunya and what is related to that.”
[Sharh al-Nawawi ‘alaa Muslim #1829]

See also: Qualities of the Successful Believers – Part 5/7: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Abu Bakr’s and Umar’s visit to Umm Ayman: Sharh al-Nawawi

In his chapter on the virtues on the sahaabah, imam Muslim mentions the following narration concerning the virtues of Umm Ayman:

عَنْ أَنَسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ رضى الله عنه بَعْدَ وَفَاةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لِعُمَرَ انْطَلِقْ بِنَا إِلَى أُمِّ أَيْمَنَ نَزُورُهَا كَمَا كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَزُورُهَا ‏.‏ فَلَمَّا انْتَهَيْنَا إِلَيْهَا بَكَتْ فَقَالاَ لَهَا مَا يُبْكِيكِ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لِرَسُولِهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏.‏ فَقَالَتْ مَا أَبْكِي أَنْ لاَ أَكُونَ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لِرَسُولِهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَلَكِنْ أَبْكِي أَنَّ الْوَحْىَ قَدِ انْقَطَعَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ ‏.‏ فَهَيَّجَتْهُمَا عَلَى الْبُكَاءِ فَجَعَلاَ يَبْكِيَانِ مَعَهَا

Anas reported that after the death of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) Abu Bakr said to ‘Umar, “Let us visit Umm Aiman as Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to visit her.” When we came to her, she was weeping. They (Abu Bakr and Umar) said to her, “What makes you weep? What is with Allah is better for the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).” She said, “I weep not because I do not know of the fact that what is with Allah is better for the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), but I weep because the revelation which came from the Heaven has ceased to come. This moved both of them to tears and they began to weep along with her.

[Saheeh Muslim #2454]

Imam al-Nawawi, in his commentary on Saheeh Muslim mentions the following points of benefit concerning the permissible and recommended activities which are derived from this hadeeth:

قوله : ( قال أبو بكر بعد وفاة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لعمر رضي الله عنه : انطلق بنا إلى أم أيمن نزورها ، كما كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يزورها ) فيه زيارة الصالحين وفضلها ، وزيارة الصالح لمن هو دونه ، وزيارة الإنسان لمن كان صديقه يزوره ، ولأهل ود صديقه ، وزيارة جماعة من الرجال للمرأة الصالحة ، وسماع كلامها ، واستصحاب العالم والكبير صاحبا له في الزيارة ، والعيادة ، ونحوهما . والبكاء حزنا على فراق الصالحين والأصحاب ، وإن كانوا قد انتقلوا إلى أفضل مما كانوا عليه . والله أعلم .

His statement, “Abu Bakr said to ‘Umar, ‘Let us visit Umm Aiman as Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to visit her.‘” This includes (the permission and/or recommendation of):

-visiting the righteous people and the virtue of that;
-the righteous person visiting those who are less (righteous) than him;
-people visiting those who their friends used to visit and (visiting) the dearly beloved people of their friend;
-a group of men visiting a righteous woman and listening to her speech;
-for the scholar or elder to bring along a companion with him in his visits, habitual activities, etc;
-weeping out of sadness over the loss of righteous people and companions [whether by death or separation], even if they have moved on to a better condition than that which they were previously in.

And Allah knows best.

[Sharh al-Nawawi ‘alaa Saheeh Muslim #2454]