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

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Ibrahim’s interactions with his father: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

In surah Maryam, Allah recounts part of the story of Ibrahim and his calling his father and his people to al-Tawheed while he was still a youth. Commenting on part of this story, Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following:

قوله تعالى : قال أراغب أنت عن آلهتي ياإبراهيم لئن لم تنته لأرجمنك واهجرني مليا قال سلام عليك سأستغفر لك ربي إنه كان بي حفيا

Allah’s statement:

قَالَ أَرَ‌اغِبٌ أَنتَ عَنْ آلِهَتِي يَا إِبْرَ‌اهِيمُ ۖ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهِ لَأَرْ‌جُمَنَّكَ ۖ وَاهْجُرْ‌نِي مَلِيًّا * قَالَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ ۖ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ‌ لَكَ رَ‌بِّي ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّا

[His father] said, “Have you no desire for my gods, O Ibrahim? If you do not desist, I will surely stone you, so avoid me for a prolonged time.” * [Ibrahim] said, “Peace be upon you. I will ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. Indeed, He is ever gracious to me. [19:46-47]

بين الله جل وعلا في هاتين الآيتين الكريمتين : أن إبراهيم لما نصح أباه النصيحة المذكورة مع ما فيها من الرفق واللين ، وإيضاح الحق والتحذير من عبادة ما لا يسمع ولا يبصر ، ومن عذاب الله تعالى وولاية الشيطان – خاطبه هذا الخطاب العنيف ، وسماه باسمه ولم يقل له ” يا بني ” في مقابلة قوله له ” يا أبت ” وأنكر عليه أنه راغب عن عبادة الأوثان ، أي : معرض عنها لا يريدها ; لأنه لا يعبد إلا الله وحده جل وعلا ، وهدده بأنه إن لم ينته عما يقوله له ليرجمنه ) قيل بالحجارة وقيل باللسان شتما ( والأول أظهر ، ثم أمره بهجره مليا أي : زمانا طويلا . ـ

In these two noble ayaat Allah clarified that when Ibrahim advised his father with the aforementioned sincere advice [19:42-45] along with what it contained of gentleness and softness, as well as making the truth clear and warning against the worship of those things which can neither hear nor see, and against the punishment of Allah and the alliance of the shaytaan – then his father addressed him with a forceful address and called him by his name rather than saying “O my dear son” to him in response to Ibrahim’s saying “O my dear father” to him, and he rebuked him for his being averse to the worship of idols – meaning, turning away from them and not desiring them since Ibrahim did not worship anything except Allah alone. And his father threatened him that if he did not desist from what he was saying, then he would certainly assault him – it is said with stoning and it is said with abusive speech, and the first opinion is what is apparent. Then his father ordered him to leave him malee’an – meaning a long period of time.

ثم بين أن إبراهيم قابل أيضا جوابه العنيف بغاية الرفق واللين في قوله : قال سلام عليك سأستغفر لك ربي الآية [ 19 \ 47 ] ، وخطاب إبراهيم لأبيه الجاهل بقوله : سلام عليك قد بين جل وعلا أنه خطاب عباده المؤمنين للجهال إذا خاطبوهم ، كما قال تعالى : وعباد الرحمن الذين يمشون على الأرض هونا وإذا خاطبهم الجاهلون قالوا سلاما [ 25 \ 63 ] ، وقال تعالى : وإذا سمعوا اللغو أعرضوا عنه وقالوا لنا أعمالنا ولكم أعمالكم سلام عليكم لا نبتغي الجاهلين [ 28 \ 55 ] ، ـ

Then Allah also clarified that Ibrahim responded to his father’s forceful answer with the utmost of gentleness and softness in his own statement:

قَالَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ ۖ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ‌ لَكَ رَ‌بِّي ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّا

[Ibrahim] said, “Peace be upon you. I will ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. Indeed, He is ever gracious to me. [19:47]

And Ibrahim responded to his ignorant father with his own statement of, “peace be upon you” – Allah has clarified that that is the speech of the his believing slaves to the ignorant ones when the address them, just as He said: Continue reading

The Blessings of al-Shaam as mentioned in the Qur’an: ibn Taymiyah

As it comes in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa ibn Taymiyah:

وقال شيخ الإسلام رحمه الله قد أخبر الله بأنه بارك في أرض الشام في آيات : منها قوله : { وأورثنا القوم الذين كانوا يستضعفون مشارق الأرض ومغاربها التي باركنا فيها } . ـ

Sheikh al-Islaam – may Allah have mercy on him – said: Allah has informed us that He has bestowed blessing on the land of al-Shaam* in multiple ayaat. Among them is His statement:

وَأَوْرَ‌ثْنَا الْقَوْمَ الَّذِينَ كَانُوا يُسْتَضْعَفُونَ مَشَارِ‌قَ الْأَرْ‌ضِ وَمَغَارِ‌بَهَا الَّتِي بَارَ‌كْنَا فِيهَا

And We caused the people who had been oppressed to inherit the eastern regions of the land and the western ones, which We had blessed. [7:137]

ومنها قوله : { ونجيناه ولوطا إلى الأرض التي باركنا فيها للعالمين } . ـ

And among them is His statement:

وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَلُوطًا إِلَى الْأَرْ‌ضِ الَّتِي بَارَ‌كْنَا فِيهَا لِلْعَالَمِينَ

And We delivered him and Loot to the land which We had blessed for the all creation. [21:71]

ومنها قوله : { تجري بأمره إلى الأرض التي باركنا فيها وكنا بكل شيء عالمين } . ـ

And among them is His statement: Continue reading

“And to Loot we gave judgement and knowledge”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah recounts the stories of many of His Messengers and Prophets in surah al-Anbiya and includes therein many benefits for those who reflect on them. In one place, He briefly mentions the story of His prophet Loot when He says:

وَلُوطًا آتَيْنَاهُ حُكْمًا وَعِلْمًا وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْقَرْ‌يَةِ الَّتِي كَانَت تَّعْمَلُ الْخَبَائِثَ ۗ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَوْمَ سَوْءٍ فَاسِقِينَ  وَأَدْخَلْنَاهُ فِي رَ‌حْمَتِنَا ۖ إِنَّهُ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ

And to Loot We gave judgement and knowledge, and We saved him from the city that was committing wicked deeds. Indeed, they were a people of evil, defiantly disobedient. And We admitted him into Our mercy. Indeed, he was of the righteous. [21:74-75]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, writes the following about these ayaat:

هذا ثناء من الله على رسوله ‏‏لوط‏‏ عليه السلام بالعلم الشرعي، والحكم بين الناس، بالصواب والسداد، وأن الله أرسله إلى قومه، يدعوهم إلى عبادة الله، وينهاهم عما هم عليه من الفواحش، فلبث يدعوهم، فلم يستجيبوا له، فقلب الله عليهم ديارهم وعذبهم عن آخرهم لأنهم ‏{‏قَوْمَ سَوْءٍ فَاسِقِينَ‏}‏ كذبوا الداعي، وتوعدوه بالإخراج، ونجى الله لوطا وأهله، فأمره أن يسري بهم ليلا، ليبعدوا عن القرية، فسروا ونجوا، من فضل الله عليهم ومنته‏.‏

This is commendation from Allah upon His Messenger Loot (‘alaihis salaam) for his knowledge of the divine law, and his judging between the people with truthfulness and uprightness. And Allah sent him to his people, to call them to the worship of Allah, and to prohibit them from those immoralities which they were upon. And he stayed there inviting them, but they did not respond to him, so Allah overturned their houses and punished them in the hereafter because they were “people of evil, defiantly disobedient“, denying the caller, and vowing to drive him out. But Allah saved Loot and his family, so He ordered him to travel with them by night, to get far away from the city, so they were concealed and saved by the favour and provision of Allah upon them.

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Two disbelieving women and two believing women: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah concludes surah al-Tahreem with the following ayaat where He says:

‏ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا اِمْرَأَةَ نُوحٍ وَامْرَأَةَ لُوطٍ كَانَتَا تَحْتَ عَبْدَيْنِ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا صَالِحَيْنِ فَخَانَتَاهُمَا فَلَمْ يُغْنِيَا عَنْهُمَا مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا وَقِيلَ ادْخُلَا النَّارَ مَعَ الدَّاخِلِينَ * وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اِمْرَأَةَ فِرْعَوْنَ إِذْ قَالَتْ رَبِّ ابْنِ لِي عِنْدَكَ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنْ فِرْعَوْنَ وَعَمَلِهِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ * وَمَرْيَمَ ابْنَتَ عِمْرَانَ الَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهِ مِنْ رُوحِنَا وَصَدَّقَتْ بِكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّهَا وَكُتُبِهِ وَكَانَتْ مِنَ الْقَانِتِينَ

Allah presents an example of those who disbelieved: the wife of Nuh and the wife of Loot. They were under two of Our righteous servants but betrayed them, so those prophets did not avail them from Allah at all, and it was said, “Enter the Fire with those who enter.” And Allah presents an example of those who believed: the wife of Fir’awn, when she said, “My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise and save me from Fir’awn and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people.” And [the example of] Maryam, the daughter of ‘Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her Our Ruh, and she testified to the truth of the Words of her Lord, and His Scriptures, and she was of the devoutly obedient. [66:10-12]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, writes the following commentary:

هذان المثلان اللذان ضربهما الله للمؤمنين والكافرين، ليبين لهم أن اتصال الكافر بالمؤمن وقربه منه لا يفيده شيئًا، وأن اتصال المؤمن بالكافر لا يضره شيئًا مع قيامه بالواجب عليه‏.‏

These are two examples which Allah has struck of the believers and the disbelievers in order to clarify to them that a connection of a kaafir to a mu’min and his closeness to him does not benefit the kaafir at all, and that the connection of a mu’min to a kaafir does not harm the mu’min at all, so long as he establishes his duties to him [i.e. giving him his due rights, not being unjust to him, etc.]

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