Zakah al-Fitr in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Baghawi

In the midst of surah al-‘Aalaa, Allah informs us:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّىٰ * وَذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّىٰ

He has certainly succeeded – he who tazakkaa * and mentions the name of his Lord and prays [87:14-15]

The word tazakkaa refers to purification, either purification of one’s self (such as in the related term tazkiyyah al-nafs) or purification of one’s wealth (such as in the related term zakah). In his commentary on these ayaat, the famous mufassir Abu Muhammad al-Husayn al-Baghawi wrote:

ـ ( قد أفلح من تزكى ) تطهر من الشرك وقال : لا إله إلا الله . هذا قول عطاء وعكرمة ، ورواية الوالبي وسعيد بن جبير عن ابن عباس وقال الحسن : من كان عمله زاكيا . ـ

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّىٰ

He has certainly succeeded – he who tazakkaa

who purifies himself from al-shirk and says laa ilaaha illallaah – there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. This was the explanation of ‘Ataa’ and ‘Ikrimah, as well as being relayed from ibn ‘Abbaas by way of al-Waalibi and Sa’eed ibn Jubayr.

al-Hasan al-Basri explained it by saying, “Whoever’s actions are pure.”

وقال آخرون : هو صدقة الفطر ، روي عن أبي سعيد الخدري في قوله : ” قد أفلح من تزكى ” قال : أعطى صدقة الفطر . ـ

Meanwhile others say that this is referring to the zakah al-fitr. It is relayed from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri regarding this ayah that he explained it by saying, “[He has certainly succeeded – he who] gives the zakah al-fitr.” Continue reading


Supplication in Ramadan: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In part of his explanation of surah al-Qadr, al-Haafidh ibn Kathir mentioned the following:

والمستحب الإكثار من الدعاء في جميع الأوقات ، وفي شهر رمضان أكثر ، وفي العشر الأخير منه ، ثم في أوتاره أكثر . والمستحب أن يكثر من هذا الدعاء : ” اللهم ، إنك عفو تحب العفو ، فاعف عني ” ; لما رواه الإمام أحمد : حدثنا يزيد – هو ابن هارون – ، حدثنا الجريري – وهو سعيد بن إياس – ، عن عبد الله بن بريدة ، أن عائشة قالت : يا رسول الله ، إن وافقت ليلة القدر فما أدعو ؟ قال : ” قولي : اللهم إنك عفو تحب العفو ، فاعف عني ” .ـ

It is encouraged to engage in an abundance of supplication during all times, and to increase beyond that during the month of Ramadan, and then to increase therein during its last ten days, and then to increase even further in the odd-numbered ones.

And it is encouraged to be prolific in making the following supplication:

 اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي

Allaahumma innaka ‘Afuwwun


f’afu ‘anee

O Allah, Indeed You are Pardoning and love pardoning, so pardon me! Continue reading

A Reward Without Interruption: Tafsir al-Tabari

Allah says in surah al-Tin:

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ * ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ * إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ

We have certainly created man in the best form * then we return him to the lowest of the low * Except for those who believe and do righteous good deeds – for them there is a reward without interruption [95:4-6]

The great mufassir Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari discussed these ayaat at length. What follows is one section of that discussion:

حدثنا ابن حميد ، قال : ثنا حكام ، عن سعيد بن سابق ، عن عاصم الأحول ، [ ص: 511 ] عن عكرمة ، قال : من قرأ القرآن لم يرد إلى أرذل العمر ، ثم قرأ : ( لقد خلقنا الإنسان في أحسن تقويم ثم رددناه أسفل سافلين إلا الذين آمنوا وعملوا الصالحات ) قال : لا يكون حتى لا يعلم من بعد علم شيئا . ـ

… ‘Ikrimah said, “Whoever recites the Qur’an will not be sent reverted back into the lowliest age,” and then he recited:

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ * ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ * إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ

We have certainly created man in the best form * then we return him to the lowest of the low * Except for those who believe and do righteous good deeds

and he said, “It won’t happen that he is reverted back to not knowing anything that he had known before.”

فعلى هذا التأويل قوله : ( ثم رددناه أسفل سافلين ) لخاص من الناس غير داخل فيهم الذين آمنوا وعملوا الصالحات ؛ لأنه مستثنى منهم . ـ

So according to this interpretation, then the ayah: Continue reading

We made the way easy for him: Tafsir al-Tabari & Tafsir ibn Kathir

In surah ‘Abasa, Allah mentions the following passage:

قُتِلَ الْإِنسَانُ مَا أَكْفَرَهُ * مِنْ أَيِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ * مِن نُّطْفَةٍ خَلَقَهُ فَقَدَّرَهُ * ثُمَّ السَّبِيلَ يَسَّرَهُ * ثُمَّ أَمَاتَهُ فَأَقْبَرَهُ * ثُمَّ إِذَا شَاءَ أَنشَرَهُ * كَلَّا لَمَّا يَقْضِ مَا أَمَرَهُ

Cursed is man, how he disbelieves! * What did Allah create him from? He created him from a sperm-drop, and then apportioned him * Then He made the way easy for him * then He causes him to die and makes a grave for him * then, when He wills, He will raise him up * No! Man has not yet accomplished what Allah has command of him [80:17-23]

The salaf and the mufassiroon differed as to the meaning of the ayah:

ثُمَّ السَّبِيلَ يَسَّرَهُ

Then He made the way easy for him

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir summarized the two opinions of the salaf and later scholars by writing:

ـ ( ثم السبيل يسره ) قال العوفي عن ابن عباس ثم يسر عليه خروجه من بطن أمه وكذا قال عكرمة والضحاك وأبو صالح وقتادة والسدي واختاره ابن جرير . ـ

ثُمَّ السَّبِيلَ يَسَّرَهُ

Then He made the way easy for him

al-‘Awfi relayed that ibn ‘Abbaas explained it as: then Allah made man’s exit from his mother’s womb easy for him.

This is just as ‘Ikrimah, al-Dhahhaak, Abu Saalih, Qataadah, and al-Suddi said. And this was the preferred position of ibn Jariri [al-Tabari]. Continue reading

The Virtues of Surah al-Ikhlaas: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars as well as Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawaa of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was asked the following question:

 نص السؤال : ما صحة هذا الحديث‏:‏ ‏«من قرأ‏:‏ ‏{‏قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ‏}‏ في ليلة ألف مرة فقد شرى نفسه من الله‏» ؟‏

Question: What is the veracity of the hadeeth, “whoever recites surah al-Ikhlaas (102) one thousand times within the course of a night, then he has purchased himself from Allah”?

نص الإجابة : أما سورة‏:‏ ‏{ ‏قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ‏ }‏ فهي سورة عظيمة أخبر النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – في أحاديث صحيحة” أنها تعادل ثلث القرآن‏” ،، وذلك لما تتضمنه من أوصاف الله سبحانه وتعالى ونعوت جلاله، فهي سورة خالصة في التوحيد، ولهذا تسمى سورة الإخلاص، وكان النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ” يقرأها مع المعوذتين عند النوم” ‏‏، وكان يحث على قراءتها ‏لما فيها من الفضل العظيم، وأنها تعدل ثلث القرآن‏.‏  ـ

Response: As for surah al-Ikhlaas, it is a tremendous surah about which the Prophet (ﷺ) informed us in a number of authentic reports that “it is equal to one third of the Qur’an”, and that is due to the descriptions and attributes of Allah that it contains. For it is a surah which is entirely devoted to the subject of tawheed, and this is why it is named “surah al-Ikhlaas“. And the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “recite it along with the surah al-Falaq (113) and surah al-Nas (114) before sleeping”. This encouragement to recite it is due to the great virtue it holds and that it is equal to one third of the Qur’an. Continue reading

The Arrangement of the Final Chapters of the Qur’an: Ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah mentioned the following benefits in one of his writings:

السور القصار في أواخر المصحف متناسبة . فسورة ( اقرأ هي أول ما نزل من القرآن ; ولهذا افتتحت بالأمر بالقراءة وختمت بالأمر بالسجود ووسطت بالصلاة التي أفضل أقوالها وأولها بعد التحريم هو القراءة وأفضل أفعالها وآخرها قبل التحليل هو السجود … ـ

The shorter surahs at the end of the mushaf have a certain logic and reasoning to their organization and arrangement. Surah Iqraa’ [96] was the first part of the Qur’an to be revealed, and so it opens with the command to recite and closes with the command to make sujood. And in its middle is the prayer, whose best spoken part and the first of them after the initial takbeer is the recitation of the Qur’an, and whose best physical parts and the last of them before its conclusion is the sujood. …

فلما أمر في هذه السورة بالقراءة ذكر في التي تليها نزول القرآن ليلة القدر وذكر فيها تنزل الملائكة والروح وفي ( المعارج عروج الملائكة والروح وفي ( النبأ قيام الملائكة والروح . فذكر الصعود والنزول والقيام ثم [ ص: 478 ] في التي تليها تلاوته على المنذرين حيث قال : { يتلو صحفا مطهرة } { فيها كتب قيمة } . فهذه السور الثلاث منتظمة للقرآن أمرا به وذكرا لنزوله ولتلاوة الرسول له على المنذرين . ـ

So after Allah commands the recitation of the Qur’an in this surah, in the following surah [97 – surah al-Qadr] He mentions the sending down of the Qur’an on Laylah al-Qadr. And in that surah He also mentioned the descending of the angels and the Rooh. Continue reading

The Meaning of “Laylah al-Qadr”: Sheikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen

The term Laylah al-Qadr has been translated into English in a number of different ways, leading to some potential confusion as to the correct and intended  meaning of the word “qadr” in this phrase. In part of his explanation of surah al-Qadr, sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen brought the following clarification of this issue:

وقوله تعالى: {في ليلة القدر} من العلماء من قال: القدر هو الشرف كما يقال (فلان ذو قدر عظيم، أو ذو قدر كبير) أي ذو شرف كبير، ومن العلماء من قال: المراد بالقدر التقدير، لأنه يقدر فيها ما يكون في السنة لقول الله تعالى: {إنا أنزلناه في ليلة مباركة إنا كنا منذرين. فيها يفرق كل أمر حكيم} [الدخان: 3، 4] . أي يفصل ويبين. ـ

Regarding Allah’s statement:

فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

… during Laylah al-Qadr [97:1]

There are some scholars who say that al-qadr means “honor”, just as one might say, “So-and-so has tremendous qadr” or “has considerable qadr” – meaning: considerable honor. Continue reading

A Relationship between Surah al-Ma’oon and Surah al-Kawthar: al-Zarkashi

In his famous handbook of the sciences of the Qur’an, sheikh Badr al-Deen al-Zarkashi – a student of the famous mufassir al-haafidh ibn Kathir – mentioned the following point:

وَمِنْ لَطَائِفِ سُورَةِ الْكَوْثَرِ أَنَّهَا كَالْمُقَابِلَةِ لِلَّتِي قَبْلَهَا لِأَنَّ السَّابِقَةَ قَدْ وَصَفَ اللَّهُ فِيهَا الْمُنَافِقَ بِأُمُورٍ أَرْبَعَةٍ الْبُخْلِ وَتَرْكِ الصَّلَاةِ وَالرِّيَاءِ فِيهَا وَمَنْعِ الزَّكَاةِ فَذَكَرَ هُنَا فِي مُقَابَلَةِ البخل {إنا أعطيناك الْكَوْثَرِ} أَيِ الْكَثِيرَ وَفِي مُقَابَلَةِ تَرْكِ الصَّلَاةِ {فَصَلِّ} أَيْ دُمْ عَلَيْهَا وَفِي مُقَابَلَةِ الرِّيَاءِ {لِرَبِّكَ} أَيْ لِرِضَاهُ لَا لِلنَّاسِ وَفِي مُقَابَلَةِ مَنْعِ الْمَاعُونِ {وَانْحَرْ} وَأَرَادَ بِهِ التَّصَدُّقَ بِلَحْمِ الْأَضَاحِيِّ فَاعْتَبَرَ هَذِهِ الْمُنَاسَبَةَ الْعَجِيبَةَ

One of the subtle points of surah al-Kawthar [108] is that it is like a counterpart to the surah that preceded it [i.e. surah al-Ma’oon – 107]. For in the previous surah, Allah had characterized the munaafiq [hypocrite] with four qualities:

1) stinginess,

2) abandoning the prayer,

3) performing the prayer only to be seen by others, and

4) withholding the zakah.

○ But then in this surah, as a counterpart to stinginess He mentioned:

إِنَّا أَعْطَيْنَاكَ الْكَوْثَرَ

Indeed, We have granted you al-Kawthar [108:1]

meaning: an abundance.

○ And as a counterpart to abandoning the prayer, He said:


so turn in prayer …

meaning: always be consistent in it.

○ And as a counterpart to the desire to be seen by people, He said:


… to your Lord …

meaning: for His pleasure, not for the sake of people.

○ And as a counterpart to withholding neighborly acts of kindness, He said:


… and sacrifice. [108:2]

and what is intended here is the charitable distribution of the sacrificial ‘Eid al-Adhaa meat.

So the parallels and the relationship between these two surahs is something amazing.

[al-Burhan fee ‘Uloom al-Qur’an 1/39]

See here for more of this discussion: Connections and Links between Surahs: al-Zarkashi

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

See also: Four things for you and Three things against you

See also: “If there had been a concession for anyone in leaving off dhikr…”

See also: The Relationship between Supplication and Fasting: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Be More Concerned about the Actions of the Heart than the Actions of the Limbs: ibn ‘Uthaymeen

In part of his tafsir of surah al-Taariq, sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen wrote:

وقوله تعالى : [يَوْمَ تُبْلَى السَّرَائِرُ] ، أي : تختبر  السرائر ، وهي القلوب ، فإن الحساب يوم القيامة على ما في القلوب ، والحساب في الدنيا على ما في الجوارح ، ولهذا عامل النبي – صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم – المنافقون معاملة المسلمين حيث كان يُسنأذن في قتلهم فيقول : { لا يتحدث الناس أنّ محمد يقتل أصحابه } فكان لا يقتلهم ، وهو يعلم أن فلانا منافق ، و فلانا منافق ، لكن العمل في الدنيا على الظاهر ويوم القيامة على الباطن [يَوْمَ تُبْلَى السَّرَائِرُ] أي : تختبر ، وهذا كقوله تعالى : [ أَفَلَا يَعْلَمُ إِذَا بُعْثِرَ مَا فِي الْقُبُورِ * وَحُصِّلَ مَا فِي الصُّدُورِ ]  <العاديات 9، 10>  ـ

Allah’s statement [describing the Day of Resurrection]:

يَوْمَ تُبْلَى السَّرَائِرُ

The Day when the secrets will be tested [86:9]

meaning, when when the secrets will be put through a testing, and “the secrets” is referring to the hearts. For the reckoning and judgement of the Day of Resurrection will be according to what is in one’s heart, while the reckoning and judgement in this worldly life is according to what is outwardly manifested. It was because of this that the Prophet treated the munaafiqoon (hypocrites) as Muslims when he was petitioned for permission to kill them and responded by saying, “Let the people not say that Muhammad kills his companions”, and so they were not killed even though he knew that such-and-such person was a munaafiq and that so-and-so was a munaafiq. Deeds are taken according to what is apparent in this worldly life, while deeds will be taken according to their inner dimensions on the Day of Resurrection. Continue reading

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

In part of his explanation of his own book of Usool al-Tafsir, sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen mentioned the following point of benefit:

وقد يقال : إنه حذف المفعول من أجل العموم ؛ لأنه أحياناً يُحذف المفعول لإفادة التعميم ، واقرؤوا قول الله تعالى : { أَلَمْ يَجِدْكَ يَتِيمًا فَآوَىٰ * وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَىٰ * وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَىٰ } [الضحى 6-8] ، يقول بعض المفسرين في هذه الآيات الثلاث : إنه حذف المفعول من أجل تناسب الآيات ، أي : رؤوسها ، وأن الأصل : <ألم يجدك يتيما فآواك ، ووجدك ضالاً فهدك ، ووجدك عائلاً فأغناك> ، ولكم الصواب أنه حذف المفعول لإفادة العموم ، فالرسول – عليه الصلاة والسلام – آواه اللع وآىى به ، فكان (ﷺ) ملجا لأمته يلجؤون إليه ، هاجروا من بلادهم إلى المدينة ؛ ليكونوا حول رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم – ، {وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا} فهداك وهدى بك أيضاً / كما قرر ذلك النبي – صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم – للأنصار حين قال لهم : كنتم ضلالا فهداكم الله بي . {وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَىٰ} أي : أغناك وأغنى بك ، كما قال الرسول (ﷺ) للأنصار حين قال لهم : كنتم عالة فأغناكم الله بي . ـ

One might say that omitting the ism al-maf’ool [direct object] from a sentence is done because the meaning is general [i.e. the action is not limited in its effects to a single direct object], because sometimes the ism al-maf’ool is not mentioned in a sentence to convey a meaning of generality. Consider Allah’s statement:

أَلَمْ يَجِدْكَ يَتِيمًا فَآوَىٰ * وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَىٰ * وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَىٰ

Did He not find you an orphan and granted refuge? * And He found you lost and guided * And He found you poor and made self-sufficient [93:6-8]

Some of the mufassiroon say that the omission of the ism al-maf’ool in these three ayaat is done so that the ayaat will match – i.e. match the first ayah [in terms of parallel structure]. According to this, the base meaning would be: Continue reading