The Merits of the Mu’adhin: Tafsir al-Baghawi

Allah says in surah Fussilat:

وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

And who is better in speech than those who call to Allah, do righteous deeds and say, “I am one of the Muslims”? [41:33]

Imam al-Baghawi mentioned the following beautiful points in his explanation of this ayah:

قوله عز وجل : ( ومن أحسن قولا ممن دعا إلى الله ) إلى طاعته ، ( وعمل صالحا وقال إنني من المسلمين ) قال ابن سيرين [ والسدي وابن عباس : هو رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – دعا إلى شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله . وقال الحسن : هو المؤمن الذي أجاب الله في دعوته ، ودعا الناس إلى ما أجاب إليه ، وعمل صالحا في إجابته ، وقال : إنني من المسلمين . وقالت عائشة : أرى هذه الآية نزلت في المؤذنين .وقال عكرمة : هو المؤذن . أبو أمامة الباهلي : ” وعمل صالحا ” صلى ركعتين بين الأذان والإقامة . وقال قيس بن أبي حازم : هو الصلاة بين الأذان والإقامة . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّـهِ 

And who is better in speech than those who call to Allah …

to obeying Him

وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

… and do righteous deeds and say, “I am one of the Muslims”?

Ibn Sireen, al-Suddi and ibn ‘Abbaas all said: This is referring to Allah’s Messenger; he called the people to bear witness of laa ilaaha illaAllaah – there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.

al-Hasan said: This is referring to the believer who has responded to Allah calling him, calls the people to also respond to that call, and does righteous deeds in his responding to Allah’s call, and he says, “I am one of the Muslims.”

‘A’ishah said: I believe this ayah is referring to the mu’adhins [those who make the adhan, or call to prayer].

Continue reading

They Have Not Appraised Allah with His True Value: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-Zumar, Allah instructs His prophet:

قُلْ أَفَغَيْرَ‌ اللَّـهِ تَأْمُرُ‌ونِّي أَعْبُدُ أَيُّهَا الْجَاهِلُونَ * وَلَقَدْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ وَإِلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكَ لَئِنْ أَشْرَ‌كْتَ لَيَحْبَطَنَّ عَمَلُكَ وَلَتَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِ‌ينَ * بَلِ اللَّـهَ فَاعْبُدْ وَكُن مِّنَ الشَّاكِرِ‌ينَ * وَمَا قَدَرُ‌وا اللَّـهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِ‌هِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضُ جَمِيعًا قَبْضَتُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَالسَّمَاوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِ‌كُونَ

Say, “Is it other than Allah that you order me to worship, O ignorant ones?” * And it was already revealed to you and to those before you that if you should associate anything with Allah, your work would surely become worthless, and you would surely be among the losers.” * Rather, worship only Allah and be among the grateful. * They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal, while the earth entirely will be 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. [39:64-67]

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

ـ { قُلْ } يا أيها الرسول لهؤلاء الجاهلين، الذين دعوك إلى عبادة غير اللّه: { أَفَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ تَأْمُرُونِّي أَعْبُدُ أَيُّهَا الْجَاهِلُونَ } أي: هذا الأمر صدر من جهلكم، وإلا فلو كان لكم علم بأن اللّه تعالى الكامل من جميع الوجوه، مسدي جميع النعم، هو المستحق للعبادة، دون من كان ناقصا من كل وجه، لا ينفع ولا يضر، لم تأمروني بذلك. وذلك لأن الشرك باللّه محبط للأعمال، مفسد للأحوال . ـ

قُلْ

Say: …

O Messenger, to these ignorant ones who call you to the worship of others than Allah

أَفَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ تَأْمُرُونِّي أَعْبُدُ أَيُّهَا الْجَاهِلُونَ

…. Is it other than Allah that you order me to worship, O ignorant ones?

meaning: this command issues forth from your ignorance, and otherwise it would not occur. For if you only knew how perfect and complete Allah is from every angle, and that He is provider of all blessings, and that He is the One deserving of worship to the exclusion of those who are deficient in every way, for they do not bring benefit nor do they cause harm – if you only knew these things, then you would not tell me to that! And that is because committing shirk with Allah invalidates one’s deeds and ruins one’s condition. Continue reading

Those who say “our Lord is Allah” and then have al-Istiqaamah: Tafsir al-Baghawi

In part of surah Fussilat, Allah praises:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنْتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ

Those who say “our Lord is Allah” and then have al-Istiqaamah, then the angels will descend on them: “Do not fear and do not grieve! And have glad tidings of al-Jannah which you have been promised!” [41:30]

In his tafsir of this ayah, Imam Husayn al-Baghawi mentioned the following narrations:

 قوله عز وجل : ( إن الذين قالوا ربنا الله ثم استقاموا ) سئل أبو بكر الصديق – رضي الله تعالى عنه – عن الاستقامة فقال : أن لا تشرك بالله شيئا . وقال عمر بن الخطاب – رضي الله عنه – : ” الاستقامة ” أن تستقيم على الأمر والنهي ، ولا تروغ روغان الثعلب . وقال عثمان بن عفان – رضي الله عنه – : أخلصوا العمل لله . وقال علي – رضي الله عنه – : أدوا الفرائض . وقال ابن عباس : استقاموا على أداء الفرائض . ـ وقال الحسن : استقاموا على أمر الله تعالى فعملوا بطاعته ، واجتنبوا معصيته . ـ وقال مجاهد وعكرمة : استقاموا على شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله حتى لحقوا بالله . ـ وقال مقاتل : استقاموا على المعرفة ولم يرتدوا . وقال قتادة : كان الحسن إذا تلا هذه الآية قال : اللهم أنت ربنا فارزقنا الاستقامة . ـ

Allah’s statement:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّـهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا

Those who say “our Lord is Allah” and then have al-Istiqaamah

Abu Bakr al-Siddiq was asked about al-Istiqaamah and he replied by saying, “It is that you do not associate any partners with Allah at all.”

‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said, “al-Istiqaamah is that you steadfastly observe the commands and prohibitions, and that you do not swerve off into falsehood and deceit.”

‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan said, “They make their deeds sincerely for the sake of Allah.”

‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said, “They perform the obligatory duties.” Continue reading

Describing specific events with general wordings: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah describes one of the responses of Fir’awn and his people to Moosaa in surah al-Ghaafir where He says:

فَلَمَّا جَاءَهُم بِالْحَقِّ مِنْ عِندِنَا قَالُوا اقْتُلُوا أَبْنَاءَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ وَاسْتَحْيُوا نِسَاءَهُمْ ۚ وَمَا كَيْدُ الْكَافِرِ‌ينَ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَالٍ

And when he brought them the truth from Us, they said, “Kill the sons of those who have believed with him and keep their women alive.” But the plan of the disbelievers is not but in error. [40:25]

In part of his commentary on this ayah, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di made the following remarks:

فما كيدهم إلا في ضلال، حيث لم يتم لهم ما قصدوا، بل أصابهم ضد ما قصدوا، أهلكهم الله وأبادهم عن آخرهم. ـ

So their plan was not but in error, such that they were not able to complete what they had intended. Rather, they were afflicted with the opposite of what they intended: Allah destroyed them and obliterated them even unto their last ones.

وتدبر هذه النكتة التي يكثر مرورها بكتاب الله تعالى: إذا كان السياق في قصة معينة أو على شيء معين، وأراد الله أن يحكم على ذلك المعين بحكم، لا يختص به ذكر الحكم . وعلقه على الوصف العام ليكون أعم، وتندرج فيه الصورة التي سيق الكلام لأجلها، وليندفع الإيهام باختصاص الحكم بذلك المعين. ـ

Reflect upon this subtle and wise wording which occurs frequently in the Book of Allah: when the context is dealing with a specific story or regarding a specific thing and Allah wishes to make a ruling on that specific thing, He does not make the mention of the ruling exclusive to only that thing. (Rather) He connects the ruling to the general characteristic in order that it would be more general. So this story which is the focus on the context is included therein (in the ruling), and this is also done in order to repel any false ideas of the ruling being limited only to that specific thing.

فلهذا لم يقل { وما كيدهم إلا في ضلال } بل قال: { وَمَا كَيْدُ الْكَافِرِينَ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَالٍ } ـ

So because of this He did not say, ‘and their plan is not but in error‘. Rather He said:

وَمَا كَيْدُ الْكَافِرِ‌ينَ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَالٍ

But the plan of the disbelievers is not but in error

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 866]

See also: The Proper Place of Asbaab al-Nuzool in Understanding the Qur’an: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: Technical wordings for Asbaab al-Nuzool: Ibn ‘Uthaymeen

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

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

See also: A Benefit of General Language in Surah al-Duhaa: Sheikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen

“I entrust my affair to Allah”: Tafsir al-Shawkaani

In surah Ghaafir, Allah recounts the story of a believing man from the family of Fir’awn who was calling his people to the worship of Allah alone, beginning with the 28th ayah and continuing until the 45th. In the conclusion of this man’s da’wah to his people, he uses a word which only occurs in this place in the Qur’an when he says:

فَسَتَذْكُرُ‌ونَ مَا أَقُولُ لَكُمْ ۚ وَأُفَوِّضُ أَمْرِ‌ي إِلَى اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ بَصِيرٌ‌ بِالْعِبَادِ

“And you will remember what I am telling you, and I entrust my affair to Allah. Verily, Allah is the All-Seer of (His) slaves.” [40:44]

Commenting on this ayah in his work of tafsir, imam al-Shawkaani writes:

وَأُفَوّضُ أَمْرِى إِلَى الله أي: أتوكل عليه، وأسلم أمري إليه. قيل: إنه قال هذا لما أرادوا الإيقاع به. قال مقاتل: هرب هذا المؤمن إلى الجبل، فلم يقدروا عليه. وقيل: القائل هو: موسى، والأوّل أولى

And I entrust my affair to Allah” – meaning: I place my tawakkal (reliance, full trust) on Him, and I surrender my affair to Him. It is said that he said this when they wanted to punish him. Muqaatil said, “this believing man fled to the mountain, so they did not have any power over him.” And it is said that the speaker was Moosaa, but the first opinion (that it was the believing man from the family of Fir’awn) is preferred.

[Fath al-Qadeer 4/704]

See also: A cure for 99 problems

See also: “Remind them of the Days of Allah”: Tafsir al-Shawkaani

See also: A Runaway Slave

See also: The Tawakkal and Understaning of Ya’qub (‘alaihis salaam)

See also: “And whoever places their reliance upon Allah, then He is sufficient for him”:Ibn Hajr

See also: The Qur’anic Ayaat on Love – Part 2: Those whom Allah Loves

“And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah…” Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in His Book, in surah Fussilat:

وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am one of the Muslims.” [41:33]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di, in his explanation of this ayah, wrote:

هذا استفهام بمعنى النفي المتقرر أي‏:‏ لا أحد أحسن قولا‏.‏ أي‏:‏ كلامًا وطريقة، وحالة ‏{‏مِمَّنْ دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ‏}‏ بتعليم الجاهلين، ووعظ الغافلين والمعرضين، ومجادلة المبطلين، بالأمر بعبادة الله، بجميع أنواعها،والحث عليها، وتحسينها مهما أمكن، والزجر عما نهى الله عنه، وتقبيحه بكل طريق يوجب تركه، خصوصًا من هذه الدعوة إلى أصل دين الإسلام وتحسينه، ومجادلة أعدائه بالتي هي أحسن، والنهي عما يضاده من الكفر والشرك، والأمر بالمعروف، والنهي عن المنكر‏.‏

This question is meant as a refutation of any other position, meaning: no one is better in speech – i.e. in both content and manner of delivery.

And the description of

مِمَّنْ دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ

than one who invites to Allah

is by teaching the ignorant, and admonishing the heedless and those who turn away, and arguing against those upon falsehood, and by enjoining the worship of Allah in all its forms and varieties, and inciting the people towards that, and to better things in whatever ways one can, and to deter against what Allah has prohibited, and to reveal the depravity of every way which must be abandoned, especially doing all this while calling to the foundations of the deen of Islam and its beautification, and arguing against its enemies in the best way, and forbidding what opposes it of kufr and shirk, and enjoining the good, and forbidding evil.

ومن الدعوة إلى الله، تحبيبه إلى عباده، بذكر تفاصيل نعمه، وسعة جوده، وكمال رحمته، وذكر أوصاف كماله، ونعوت جلاله‏.‏

And part of calling to Allah is engendering the love of Him in His slaves, and mentioning the details of His blessings and their great extent, and the completeness of His mercy, and mentioning His perfect attributes and beautiful qualities. 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

Religious knowledge and secular knowledge: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah concludes surah al-Ghaafir by saying:

أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُ‌وا فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ فَيَنظُرُ‌وا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ كَانُوا أَكْثَرَ‌ مِنْهُمْ وَأَشَدَّ قُوَّةً وَآثَارً‌ا فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ فَمَا أَغْنَىٰ عَنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ * فَلَمَّا جَاءَتْهُمْ رُ‌سُلُهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَرِ‌حُوا بِمَا عِندَهُم مِّنَ الْعِلْمِ وَحَاقَ بِهِم مَّا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُونَ * فَلَمَّا رَ‌أَوْا بَأْسَنَا قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِاللَّـهِ وَحْدَهُ وَكَفَرْ‌نَا بِمَا كُنَّا بِهِ مُشْرِ‌كِينَ * فَلَمْ يَكُ يَنفَعُهُمْ إِيمَانُهُمْ لَمَّا رَ‌أَوْا بَأْسَنَا ۖ سُنَّتَ اللَّـهِ الَّتِي قَدْ خَلَتْ فِي عِبَادِهِ ۖ وَخَسِرَ‌ هُنَالِكَ الْكَافِرُ‌ونَ

Have they not traveled through the earth and seen what was the end of those before them? They were more numerous than them and mightier in strength, and in the traces (they have left behind them) in the land, yet all that they used to earn availed them not. * And when their messengers came to them with clear proofs, they [merely] rejoiced in what they had of knowledge, but they were enveloped by what they used to ridicule. * And when they saw Our punishment, they said,” We believe in Allah alone and disbelieve in that which we used to associate with Him.” * But never did their faith benefit them once they saw Our punishment. [It is] the established way (sunnah) of Allah in dealing with His slaves. And there the disbelievers lost utterly. (40:82-85)

Imam al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, explains these ayaat by writing:

يحث تعالى، المكذبين لرسولهم، على السير في الأرض، بأبدانهم، وقلوبهم‏:‏ وسؤال العالمين‏.‏ ‏{‏فَيَنْظُرُوا‏}‏ نظر فكر واستدلال، لا نظر غفلة وإهمال‏.‏

Allah, the Exalted, urges the deniers of His messengers to traverse the earth, with their bodies and hearts. And the question to all of creation, “And observed” – seen, considered, reason – not the thoughtless looking and neglectfulness.

‏{‏كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِم‏}‏ من الأمم السالفة، كعاد، وثمود وغيرهم، ممن كانوا أعظم منهم قوة وأكثر أموالاً وأشد آثارًا في الأرض من الأبنية الحصينة، والغراس الأنيقة، والزروع الكثيرة ‏{‏فَمَا أَغْنَى عَنْهُمْ مَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ‏}‏ حين جاءهم أمر الله، فلم تغن عنهم قوتهم، ولا افتدوا بأموالهم، ولا تحصنوا بحصونهم‏.‏

What was the end of those before them?” of the past nations, such as ‘Aad and Thamood and others. They were among the greatest of the past nations in terms of power and had more abundant wealth and left greater marks upon the earth in terms of fortified buildings and luxurious gardens and abundant agriculture “yet all that they used to earn availed them not” when the command of Allah came to them, their might did not benefit them, nor could their wealth ransom them, nor could their fortifications protect them.

Continue reading