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

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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:

فَصَلِّ

so turn in prayer …

meaning: always be consistent in it.

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

لِرَبِّكَ

… 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:

وَانْحَرْ

… 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 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

Whoever does an atom’s weight of good or evil shall see it: Imam al-Shinqitee

In his short work dedicated to dispelling misconceptions and misunderstandings that some may have regarding apparent contradictions in the Qur’an, sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following comments regarding surah al-Zalzalah:

قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى: فَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَرَهُ وَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ. ـ

Allah’s statement:

فَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَرَهُ * وَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ

So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, * And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it. [99:7-8]

هَذِهِ الْآيَةُ الْكَرِيمَةُ تَقْتَضِي أَنَّ كُلَّ إِنْسَانٍ كَافِرًا كَانَ أَوْ مُسْلِمًا يُجَازَى بِالْقَلِيلِ مِنَ الْخَيْرِ وَالشَّرِّ. ـ

This noble ayah entails that every person – whether he be disbeliever or a Muslim – will be recompensed for (even) a small amount of good or evil.

وَقَدْ جَاءَتْ آيَاتٌ أُخَرُ تَدُلُّ عَلَى خِلَافِ هَذَا الْعُمُومِ : ـ

But other ayaat have come which indicate something contrary to this generality:

أَمَّا مَا فَعَلَهُ الْكَافِرُ مِنَ الْخَيْرِ، فَالْآيَاتُ تُصَرِّحُ بِإِحْبَاطِهِ، كَقَوْلِهِ: أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَيْسَ لَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا النَّارُ وَحَبِطَ مَا صَنَعُوا فِيهَا وَبَاطِلٌ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ [11 \ 16] ، وَقَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى: وَقَدِمْنَا إِلَى مَا عَمِلُوا مِنْ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ هَبَاءً مَنْثُورًا [25 \ 23] ، وَكَقَوْلِهِ: أَعْمَالُهُمْ كَرَمَادٍ الْآيَةَ [14 \ 18] وَقَوْلِهِ: أَعْمَالُهُمْ كَسَرَابٍ بِقِيعَةٍ الْآيَةَ [24 \ 39] إِلَى غَيْرِ ذَلِكَ مِنَ الْآيَاتِ. ـ

As for what the disbeliever does of good deeds, then there are a number of ayaat which make their futility clear, such as His statement:

أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَيْسَ لَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا النَّارُ وَحَبِطَ مَا صَنَعُوا فِيهَا وَبَاطِلٌ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

Those are the ones for whom there is not in the Hereafter but the Fire. And lost is what they did therein, and worthless is what they used to do. [11:16]

And His statement: Continue reading

Benefits from the opening of Surah al-Layl: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di mentions the following point of benefit in his book of thematic tafsir:

فائدة: قوله تعالى: {  فَأَمَّا مَنْ أَعْطَىٰ وَاتَّقَىٰ * وَصَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنَىٰ * فَسَنُيَسِّرُ‌هُ لِلْيُسْرَ‌ىٰ } [ الليل: الآيات 5 – 7 ]. جمعت السعادة وجميع الأسباب التي تنال بها السعادة، وهي ثلاثة أشياء: فعل المأمور، واجتناب المحظور، وتصديق خبر الله ورسوله، فهذه الثلاثة يدخل فيها الدين كله، وذلك أن قوله: ( أَعْطَى ) أي: جميع ما أمر به من قول وعمل ونية، ( وَاتَّقَى ): جميع ما نهي عنه من كفر وفسوق وعصيان. ـ

A point of benefit: Allah’s statement:

فَأَمَّا مَنْ أَعْطَىٰ وَاتَّقَىٰ * وَصَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنَىٰ * فَسَنُيَسِّرُ‌هُ لِلْيُسْرَ‌ىٰ

As for he who gives and exercises taqwa * And believes in the best [reward], * We will ease him toward ease. [92:5-7]

This statement gathers ultimate joy and all of the causes which lead to ultimate joy, and these are three things: 1) performing the commands, 2) avoiding the unlawful things, and 3) affirming the information of Allah and His messenger. So the entire deen is included in these three things, and that is His statement:

أَعْطَىٰ

he who gives…” – meaning all of what you have been commanded of speech, actions and intentions,

وَاتَّقَىٰ

… and exercises taqwa” regarding all of what you have been prohibited for you of kufr, sin and disobedience. Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-‘Asr: Imam al-Sa’di

In the 103rd chapter of the Qur’an, Allah says:

وَالْعَصْرِ‌ * إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ‌ * إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ

By time, * Indeed, mankind is in loss, * Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience. [103:1-3]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote the following commentary on this surah in his well-known book of tafsir:

أقسم تعالى بالعصر، الذي هو الليل والنهار، محل أفعال العباد وأعمالهم . ـ

Allah swears by al-‘Asr [time], which is the night and the day; the location of the slaves’ actions and deeds.

أن كل إنسان خاسر، والخاسر ضد الرابح. والخسار مراتب متعددة متفاوتة: قد يكون خسارًا مطلقًا، كحال من خسر الدنيا والآخرة، وفاته النعيم، واستحق الجحيم ، وقد يكون خاسرًا من بعض الوجوه دون بعض .  ولهذا عمم الله الخسار لكل إنسان، إلا من اتصف بأربع صفات: ـ

He swears that every person is in a state of loss, and being in a state of loss is the opposite of being successful. Those in a state of loss fall into many different levels of loss. It could be that one is in a state of absolute loss, such as the condition of the one who loses both this worldly life and the hereafter and who misses out on the delight of paradise and who deserves the hell-fire. Or, it could be that one is in a state of loss in some ways but not in others.

And so, for this reason, Allah extended the label of being in a state of loss to every single person, except for those who are characterized by these four attributes: Continue reading

Will the Disbelievers speak on the Day of Judgement?: Imam al-Shinqitee

In his book written to respond to supposed contradictions and difficult passages of the Qur’an, Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee brought the following discussion under his treatment of surah al-Mursalat:

قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى: هَذَا يَوْمُ لَا يَنْطِقُونَ وَلَا يُؤْذَنُ لَهُمْ فَيَعْتَذِرُونَ. هَذِهِ الْآيَةُ الْكَرِيمَةُ تَدُلُّ عَلَى أَنَّ أَهْلَ النَّارِ لَا يَنْطِقُونَ وَلَا يَعْتَذِرُونَ. ـ

Allah’s statement:

هَذَا يَوْمُ لَا يَنْطِقُونَ * وَلَا يُؤْذَنُ لَهُمْ فَيَعْتَذِرُونَ

This is a Day they will not speak, * Nor will it be permitted for them to make an excuse. [77:35-36]

This noble ayah indicates that the people of the Hell-fire will neither speak nor proffer excuses.

وَقَدْ جَاءَتْ آيَاتٌ تَدُلُّ عَلَى أَنَّهُمْ يَنْطِقُونَ وَيَعْتَذِرُونَ، كَقَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى: وَاللَّهِ رَبِّنَا مَا كُنَّا مُشْرِكِينَ [6 \ 23] ، وَقَوْلِهِ: فَأَلْقَوُا السَّلَمَ مَا كُنَّا نَعْمَلُ مِنْ سُوءٍ [16 \ 28] ، وَقَوْلِهِ: بَلْ لَمْ نَكُنْ نَدْعُو مِنْ قَبْلُ شَيْئًا [40] ، وَقَوْلِهِ: تَاللَّهِ إِنْ كُنَّا لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُبِينٍ إِذْ نُسَوِّيكُمْ بِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ وَمَا أَضَلَّنَا إِلَّا الْمُجْرِمُونَ [26 \ 97 – 99] ، وَقَوْلِهِ: رَبَّنَا هَؤُلَاءِ أَضَلُّونَا [7 \ 38] ، إِلَى غَيْرِ ذَلِكَ مِنَ الْآيَاتِ.ـ

But other ayaat have already come which indicates that they will speak and offer excuses, such as His statement:

وَاللَّهِ رَبِّنَا مَا كُنَّا مُشْرِكِينَ

[the disbelievers will say] “By Allah, our Lord, we were not those who committed al-shirk.” [6:23]

And His statement: Continue reading