The story of ‘Eesaa, his mother, Zakariyyah and Yahya – Imam al-Sa’di

In his book of thematic tafsir, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di collected the details of the story of the prophet ‘Eesaa (Jesus), his mother Maryam (Mary), his uncle Zakariyyah (Zechariah) and his cousin Yahya (John) together along with a number of benefits from their stories together in one chapter, as follows:

 قصة عيسى وأمه ، وزكريا ويحيى عليهم السلام

The story of ‘Eesaa and his mother, and Zakariyyah and Yahya (‘alaihim al-salaam)

كانت زوجة عمران – وهو من أكابر بني إسرائيل ورؤسائهم وذوي المقامات العالية عندهم – نذرت حين ظهر حملها أن تحرر ما في بطنها لبيت المقدس، يكون خادما لبيت الله، مُعَدًّا لعبادة الله، ظنا أن الذي في بطنها ذكر، فلما وضعتها قالت معتذرة إلى الله شاكية إليه الحال : [ رَ‌بِّ إِنِّي وَضَعْتُهَا أُنثَىٰ وَاللَّـهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتْ وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ‌ كَالْأُنثَىٰ ]  أي أن الذكر الذي له القوة والقدرة على ما يراد منه من القيام بخدمة بيت المقدس

There was the wife of ‘Imran – who was one of the esteemed people and leaders of Banu Israa’eel (Children of Israel) and he held a high position in their eyes – who made a vow when it became apparent that she was with child that she would dedicate what was in her womb to Bait al-Maqdis – that it would be a servant for the House of Allah and dedicated to the worship of Allah – thinking that that which was in her stomach was a male. So when she delivered a female child, she made an excuse to Allah in defense of her situation,

رَ‌بِّ إِنِّي وَضَعْتُهَا أُنثَىٰ وَاللَّـهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتْ وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ‌ كَالْأُنثَىٰ

“My Lord, I have delivered a female.” And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, and the male is not like the female. [3:36]

meaning, the male is the one which has the ability and power to do what is desired of him in terms of fulfilling the role of a servant for Bait al-Maqdis. Continue reading

The Messiah was only a Messenger and his mother was a ṣiddīqah: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah mentions in surah al-Maa’idah:

مَّا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ وَأُمُّهُ صِدِّيقَةٌ ۖ كَانَا يَأْكُلَانِ الطَّعَامَ ۗ انظُرْ كَيْفَ نُبَيِّنُ لَهُمُ الْآيَاتِ ثُمَّ انظُرْ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ

The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a iddīqah. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded. [5:75]
Imam al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, writes the following commentary on this ayah:
ثم ذكر حقيقة المسيح وأُمِّه، الذي هو الحق، فقال: { مَا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ ْ} أي: هذا غايته ومنتهى أمره، أنه من عباد الله المرسلين، الذين ليس لهم من الأمر ولا من التشريع، إلا ما أرسلهم به الله، وهو من جنس الرسل قبله، لا مزية له عليهم تخرجه عن البشرية إلى مرتبة الربوبية.
Then He mentioned the reality about the Messiah and his mother, which is the truth, so He said, “The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him” – meaning this is the limit and the extent of his condition, that he is one of the slaves of Allah sent as a messenger, for whom belongs neither the power to command or divinely legislate matter except for that which Allah sent them with. He is from the same category of messengers as those before him; there is no special privilege conferred on him which would remove him from humanity unto a level of lordship.
{ وَأُمَّهُ ْ} مريم { صِدِّيقَةٌ ْ} أي: هذا أيضا غايتها، أن كانت من الصديقين الذين هم أعلى الخلق رتبة بعد الأنبياء. والصديقية، هي العلم النافع المثمر لليقين، والعمل الصالح. .
And his mother” Maryam “was a iddīqah” -meaning that this is also the extent of her condition, that she was one of the iddīqūn, those who are the highest rank of creation after the anbiyaa’. And al-iddīqiyyah is beneficial knowledge which produces yaqeen (certainty) and righteous actions. Continue reading

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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