“So Flee to Allah”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, says in surah al-Dhaariyat:

 فَفِرُّ‌وا إِلَى اللَّـهِ

So flee to Allah [51:50]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di said in his tafsir:

 وهو الفرار إليه أي: الفرار مما يكرهه الله ظاهرًا وباطنًا، إلى ما يحبه، ظاهرًا وباطنًا، فرار من الجهل إلى العلم، ومن الكفر إلى الإيمان، ومن المعصية إلى الطاعة، و من الغفلة إلى ذكر الله فمن استكمل هذه الأمور، فقد استكمل الدين كله وقد زال عنه المرهوب، وحصل له، نهاية المراد والمطلوب.ـ

Fleeing to Allah means: fleeing from what Allah dislikes in terms of both open deeds and hidden deeds to what is beloved to Him in terms of both open deeds and hidden deeds – fleeing from ignorance to knowledge, from al-kufr to al-eemaan, from disobedience to obedience, and from heedlessness to remembrance of Allah.

Continue reading

Recognizing the Greatness of the Allah’s Speech: Sheikh Salih al-‘Usaymi

During the month of Ramadan 1442 AH, sheikh Salih al-‘Usaymi shared the following piece of benefit via his Twitter account:

ذَكرَ اللهُ عَظَمةَ القرآن في قوله: ﴿لو أَنزلنا هذا القرآنَ على جبلٍ لرأَيتَهُ خاشعًا متصدِّعًا من خشيةِ اللَّهِ﴾؛ ثمَّ أتبعه الخبر عن نفسه بجملةٍ من أسمائه الحسنى، لا نظير لتتابعها في غير هذا الموضع من القرآن؛ لأنَّ جلالة المتكلِم تُعرِّف الخلق بجلالة ما تكلَّم به؛ فمن وقرت في قلبه معرفة الله عرف عظنة كلامه ، وعرف ثقله الذي يتصدع به الجبل من خشية الله ، كما قال ﴿إِنَّا سَنُلْقِي عَلَيْكَ قَوْلًا ثَقِيلًا﴾ واحتملته قلوب المؤمنين مع ثقله لأن الله خففه عليها بتيسيره ﴿وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ﴾

Allah mentioned the greatness of the Qur’an when He said:

لَوْ أَنزَلْنَا هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ عَلَىٰ جَبَلٍ لَّرَأَيْتَهُ خَاشِعًا مُّتَصَدِّعًا مِّنْ خَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ

Had We sent down this Quran on a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rending asunder by the fear of Allah. [59:21]

He then followed that up with some information about Himself in a grouping of His beautiful names unlike any other throughout the Qur’an in terms of how many names are mentioned in succession. He did that because the majesty of the speaker informs the creation of the majesty of what the speaker has said. Continue reading

Right Guidance and Right Actions: ibn ‘Uthaymeen

Allah begins surah al-Najm with the following oath:

وَالنَّجْمِ إِذَا هَوَىٰ * مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمْ وَمَا غَوَىٰ

By the star when it descends * your companions had not gone astray, nor has he erred. [53:1-2]

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen brings a brief benefit in discussing the second ayah:

ـ {والنجم إذا هوى} النجم اسم جنس يُراد به جميع النجوم، وقوله {إذا هوى} : لها معنيان، المعنى الأول: إذا غاب، والمعنى الثاني: إذا سقط منه شهاب على الشياطين التي تسترق السمع وهو مقسم به {ما ضل صاحبكم وما غوى} هذا جواب القسم، أي المقسم عليه {ما ضل صاحبكم} أي: ما جهل، {وما غوى} أي: ما عاند، لأن مخالفة الحق إما أن تكون عن جهل، وأما أن تكون عن غي، قال الله تعالى: {لا إكراه في الدين قد تبين الرشد من الغي} فإذا انتفى عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم الجهل، وانتفى عنه الغي تبين أن منهجه صلى الله عليه وسلم علم ورشد، علم ضد الجهل وهو الضلال، {ما ضل صاحبكم} ورشد ضد الغي {قد تبين الرشد من الغي} إذاً النبي عليه الصلاة والسلام كلامه حق وشريعته حق، لأنها عن علم ورشد

al-Najm – literally “the star” – a singular word for the entire class referring to all stars, and His statement:

إِذَا هَوَىٰ

when it hawaa

has two meanings: Continue reading

I Swear by the Installments of the Qur’an: Tafsir of ibn ‘Abbaas

Allah swears in surah al-Waaqi’ah by saying:

فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِمَوَاقِعِ النُّجُومِ * وَإِنَّهُ لَقَسَمٌ لَّوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عَظِيمٌ * إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ * فِي كِتَابٍ مَّكْنُونٍ

So I swear by the mawaqi’ah al-nujoom * and that is certainly a strong oath – if you only knew – * that this is certainly a noble recitation * in a well-guarded book. [56:75-78]

In his brief commentary, Ibn al-Jawzi summarizes the different explanations of the term mawaqi’ah al-nujoom as follows:

وفي “النجوم” قولان . أحدهما: نجوم السماء، قاله الأكثرون . فعلى هذا في مواقعها ثلاثة أقوال . أحدها: انكدارها وانتثارها يوم القيامة، قاله الحسن . والثاني: منازلها، قاله عطاء، وقتادة . والثالث: مغيبها في المغرب، قاله أبو عبيدة . والثاني: أنها نجوم القرآن، رواه ابن جبير عن ابن عباس . فعلى هذا سميت نجوما لنزولها متفرقة، ومواقعها: نزولها . ـ

There are two interpretations of the word nujoom:

1. The stars of the sky, which was the position of the majority of the salaf. If the stars are what is being referred to by nujoom, then there are three different interpretations of the word mawaqi’ah:

a. The extinguishing and dispersal of the stars of the Day of Resurrection. This was the opinion of al-Hasan al-Basr.

b. Their places in the sky, as ‘Ataa’ and Qatadah said.

c. The places where the stars set on the horizon, as Abu ‘Ubaydah said.

2. That nujoom is referring to the installments of the Qur’an, as ibn Jubayr transmitted from ibn ‘Abbaas. According to this explanation, the word nujoom is used because it was sent down in many different installments, and the word mawaqi’ah in this context refers to the act of sending it down.

[Zad al-Maseer 8/151]

Most if not all English translators of the Qur’an have translated ayah 56:75 as some variant of the first explanation that ibn al-Jawzi mentioned, such as “the falling of the stars”, “the positions of the stars”, or “the setting places of the stars”. However, some of the mufassiroon such as ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbaas, the most important mufassir of the salaf, favored the second opinion.

al-Qurtubi mentions some of the statements of ibn ‘Abbaas in his tafsir of this ayah: Continue reading

A Warning to the Family of Fir’awn: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh

The following points of benefit were taken from the social media pages of sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh:

قال تعالى:”ولقد جاء ءال فرعون النذر” والآل ترجع إلى من تبع الرجل في دينه، وآل فرعون من كان على ملة فرعون وعلى دينه.ـ

Allah said:

وَلَقَدْ جَاءَ آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ النُّذُرُ

And a warning certainly came to the Aal Fir’awn [54:41]

and word aal [literally “family/relatives”] refers to whoever follows a person in terms of his religion. So the Aal Fir’awn are whoever was upon the religion and way of life of Fir’awn.

قال تعالى:”ولقد جاء ءال فرعون النذر” لم يذكر البشارة لأنَّ القوم ما هم عليه من الشرك والكفر يستلزم الإنذار والتخويف.ـ

Allah said: Continue reading

Ibn al-Qayyim’s Model for Contemplating the Qur’an

One of the many written works of ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah is his Risalah al-Tabookiyyah which centers Allah’s command at the beginning of surah al-Ma’idah for the believers to help one another in al-birr and al-taqwa [5:3]. After describing many aspects of this ayah and its implications, ibn al-Qayyim then wrote:

ورأس الأمر وعموده في ذلك إنما هو دوام التفكر وتدبر آيات الله حيث تستولي على الفكر وتشغل القلب فإذا صارت معاني القرآن مكان الخواطر من قلبه وجلس على كرسيه، وصار له التصرف، وصار هو الأمير المطاع أمره، فحينئذ يستقيم له سيره ويتضح له الطريق وتراه ساكنا وهو يباري الريح {وَتَرَى الْجِبَالَ تَحْسَبُهَا جَامِدَةً وَهِيَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ السَّحَابِ صُنْعَ اللَّهِ الَّذِي أَتْقَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ إِنَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَفْعَلُونَ} . ـ

At the head of all of this and its very foundation is for one to always contemplate and reflect on the ayaat of the Qur’an, so much so that it overpowers one’s other thoughts and becomes the central concern of one’s heart. When the messages of the Qur’an take the place that mere passing thoughts previously held in his heart and begin to rule over it, being what turns his heart and the ruler that it obeys, then his journey becomes smooth and his course becomes clear. So even if it appeared that he was standing still he is in fact moving forward towards Allah fast as the wind.

وَتَرَى الْجِبَالَ تَحْسَبُهَا جَامِدَةً وَهِيَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ السَّحَابِ صُنْعَ اللَّهِ الَّذِي أَتْقَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ إِنَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَفْعَلُونَ

And you see the mountains, thinking them rigid, while they will pass as the passing of clouds. It is the work of Allah, who perfected all things. Indeed, He is Acquainted with that which you do. [27:88]

فان قلت: إنك قد أشرت إلى مقام عظيم فافتح لي بابه، واكشف لي حجابه، وكيف تدبر القرآن وتفهمه والإشراف على عجائبه وكنوزه؟ وهذه تفاسير الأئمة بأيدينا، فهل في البيان غير ما ذكروه؟ ـ

Now if you were to say, “You have just described a great station, so open up its door for me and remove its veil for me – how does one contemplate and understand the the Qur’an grasp its amazements and great treasures? We have the explanations of the great scholars of tafsir with us, is there anything else to understand the Qur’an beyond what they have already done?”

[See also: Narration-based Tafsir before Opinion-based Tafsir: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh]

قلت: سأضرب لك أمثالاً تحتذي عليها وتجعلها إماماً لك في هذا المقصد، قال الله تعالى: {هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ ضَيْفِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الْمُكْرَمِينَ إِذْ دَخَلُوا عَلَيْهِ فَقَالُوا سَلاماً قَالَ سَلامٌ قَوْمٌ مُنْكَرُونَ فَرَاغَ إِلَى أَهْلِهِ فَجَاءَ بِعِجْلٍ سَمِينٍ، فَقَرَّبَهُ إِلَيْهِمْ قَالَ أَلا تَأْكُلُونَ فَأَوْجَسَ مِنْهُمْ خِيفَةً قَالُوا لا تَخَفْ وَبَشَّرُوهُ بِغُلامٍ عَلِيمٍ فَأَقْبَلَتِ امْرَأَتُهُ فِي صَرَّةٍ فَصَكَّتْ وَجْهَهَا وَقَالَتْ عَجُوزٌ عَقِيمٌ قَالُوا كَذَلِكِ قَالَ رَبُّكِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْحَكِيمُ الْعَلِيمُ} . ـ

My response would be: Let me give you some things that you can take as an example and a model to follow for this goal.

Allah says: Continue reading

“So Turn Away From Them”: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan mentioned the following in a part of a series of classes he gave on the explanation of the mufassal surahs:

ثم قال لنبيه محمد : (فَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ) ، أي : لا تلتفت إلى أقوالهم ، واعتراضاتهم ، ولا تعبأ بها أبداً ، ولا تهمك ؛ لأنه كان يحزن على قومه ، أنهم يدخلون النار ، وأنهم يكفرون بالله ، (فَلَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ) (لَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ أَلَّا يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ) ، أي : مهلك نفسك ، فالرسول كان حريصا ، وكان يحزنه ما عليه قومه ، لأنه يريد لهم السلامة ، والنصيحة ، ويريد لهم النجاة ، فإذا رآهم على ما هم عليه من العناد فإنه يحزن . ـ

Then Allah said to His Prophet Muhammad:

فَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ

So turn away from them [51:54]

meaning: don’t pay heed to what they say and their opposition, don’t ever let it bother you or concern you. That is because the Prophet used to grieve for his people [i.e. the Quraish], worrying that they would enter the Hellfire and because they disbelieved in Allah.

فَلَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ

Perhaps you would kill yourself in grief because of them [18:6]

لَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ أَلَّا يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ

Perhaps you would kill yourself with grief that they will not be believers. [26:3]

meaning: that you would destroy yourself. For the Messenger desired their guidance very much, and used to grieve for his people, because he wanted good for them and to advise them, and he wanted their salvation. So when he would see them in their state of obstinate refusal he would be saddened.

قال تعالى : (وَلَقَدْ نَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ يَضِيقُ صَدْرُكَ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ) ، (قَدْ نَعْلَمُ إِنَّهُ لَيَحْزُنُكَ الَّذِي يَقُولُونَ ۖ فَإِنَّهُمْ لَا يُكَذِّبُونَكَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّـهِ يَجْحَدُونَ) ، فهذه تسلية للرسول . ـ

Allah said: Continue reading

An Overview of Surah al-Dhariyat (51): Ibn Taymiyah

In the last part of surah al-Dhariyat, Allah says:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. [5:56]

Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah commented on this ayah in one of his many written works by saying:

إن سياق الآية يقتضي أن هذا ذم وتوبيخ لمن لم يعبد الله منهم لأن الله خلقه لشيء فلم يفعل ما خلق له ولهذا عقبها بقوله ; { ما أريد منهم من رزق وما أريد أن يطعمون } ـ

The context of this ayah necessitates that it is a statement of dispraise and rebuke towards those men and Jinn who do not worship Allah. For Allah created them for one thing but they do not do what they were created for. This is why Allah immediately follows up this ayah by saying:

مَا أُرِيدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَن يُطْعِمُونِ

I do not want any provision from them, nor do I want them to feed Me. [51:57]

فإثبات العبادة ونفي هذا يبين أنه خلقهم للعبادة ولم يرد منهم ما يريده السادة من عبيدهم من الإعانة لهم بالرزق والإطعام ـ

When placed beside this negation, the affirmation of Allah’s sole right to be worshiped makes it clear that He created them to worship Him and that He does not desire what a ruler might desire of his slaves – i.e. their aid in gaining provision and food.

ولهذا قال بعد ذلك : { فإن للذين ظلموا ذنوبا } أي نصيبا { مثل ذنوب أصحابهم } أي المتقدمين من الكفار . أي نصيبا من العذاب ـ

And this is why Allah said after that: Continue reading

A Discussion of the People of Jannah: Tafsir al-Qurtubi & Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-Tur, Allah describes the situation of the believers in Jannah by saying:

وَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ * قَالُوا إِنَّا كُنَّا قَبْلُ فِي أَهْلِنَا مُشْفِقِينَ * فَمَنَّ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْنَا وَوَقَانَا عَذَابَ السَّمُومِ * إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبْلُ نَدْعُوهُ ۖ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْبَرُّ الرَّحِيمُ

And they will approach one another, inquiring of each other. * They will say, “Indeed, we were previously among our people, fearful. * So Allah conferred favor upon us and protected us from the punishment of al-samoom. * Indeed, we used to supplicate Him before. Indeed, it is He who is al-Barr, al-Raheem.” [52:25-28]

Commenting on this in his book of tafsir, Imam al-Qurtubi wrote:

قوله تعالى : وأقبل بعضهم على بعض يتساءلون قال ابن عباس : إذا بعثوا من قبورهم سأل بعضهم بعضا . وقيل : في الجنة يتساءلون أي يتذاكرون ما كانوا فيه في الدنيا من التعب والخوف من العاقبة ، ويحمدون الله تعالى على زوال الخوف عنهم . وقيل : يقول بعضهم لبعض بم صرت في هذه المنزلة الرفيعة ؟ قالوا إنا كنا قبل في أهلنا مشفقين أي قال كل مسئول منهم لسائله : إنا كنا قبل أي في الدنيا خائفين وجلين من عذاب الله . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ

And they will approach one another, inquiring of each other

ibn ‘Abbaas said: when they are raised from their graves they will ask one another.

But others explained it to mean that they will ask one another in Jannah, meaning they will discuss the hard work and fear of the ultimate outcomes that they had during the worldly life and they will praise Allah for removing that fear from them.

Still others said: They will say to one another, “How did you get to this elevated station?” They will say, Continue reading

I did not Create the Jinn and Mankind Except to Worship Me: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Near the end of surah al-Dhaariyaat, Allah says:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ * مَا أُرِيدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَن يُطْعِمُونِ * إِنَّ اللَّـهَ هُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُ

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me * I do not desire provision from them, nor do I want them to feed me * It is Allah who is the continual provider, the firm possessor of strength. [51:56-58]

Commenting on this in his well-known tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di wrote:

هذه الغاية التي خلق الله الجن والإنس لها، وبعث جميع الرسل يدعون إليها، وهي عبادته، المتضمنة لمعرفته ومحبته، والإنابة إليه والإقبال عليه، والإعراض عما سواه ـ

This is the purpose for which Allah created the Jinn and mankind, and all of the Messengers were sent to call to this: that is, the worship of Allah. Worship of Allah involves knowing Him, loving Him, turning to Him in repentance, dedicating oneself to Him, and turning away from the worship of any others.

وذلك يتضمن معرفة الله تعالى، فإن تمام العبادة متوقف على المعرفة بالله، بل كلما ازداد العبد معرفة بربه، كانت عبادته أكمل، فهذا الذي خلق الله المكلفين لأجله، فما خلقهم لحاجة منه إليهم. ـ

This involves knowing Allah, as complete worship is dependent upon knowing Allah. In fact, the more that a person increases in knowing His Lord, the more complete his worship will be. So it is for this purpose that Allah created these two legally-responsible beings [i.e. Jinn and mankind]; He did not created them out of any need for them. Continue reading