Transgressing the Limits of Allah: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In the beginning of surah al-Nisaa’, Allah discusses the rules of inheritance at length. Immediately following this, He says:

تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّـهِ ۚ وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّـهَ وَرَ‌سُولَهُ يُدْخِلْهُ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِ‌ي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ‌ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ * وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّـهَ وَرَ‌سُولَهُ وَيَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَهُ يُدْخِلْهُ نَارً‌ا خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَلَهُ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ

These are the limits of Allah, and whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be admitted to Gardens under which rivers flow, to abide therein, and that will be the great success. * And whosoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein; and he shall have a disgraceful torment. [4:13-14]

Commenting on this in his famous book of tafsir, Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote the following:

أي: تلك التفاصيل التي ذكرها في المواريث حدود الله التي يجب الوقوف معها وعدم مجاوزتها، ولا القصور عنها، وفي ذلك دليل على أن الوصية للوارث منسوخة بتقديره تعالى أنصباء الوارثين. ـ

Meaning: These details of the inheritance which He mentioned are the limits of Allah, at which He has obligated halting, the absence of transgressing them and not falling short of them. And in this there is a proof that making a bequest to an inheritor [i.e. writing a will in which one of your legally-designated inheritors would receive more than their amount according to the sharee’ah] is abrogated due to Allah’s designation of the shares due to the various inheritors.

ثم قوله تعالى: { تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ } فالوصية للوارث بزيادة على حقه يدخل في هذا التعدي، مع قوله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “لا وصية لوارث” ثم ذكر طاعة الله ورسوله ومعصيتهما عموما ليدخل في العموم لزوم حدوده في الفرائض أو ترك ذلك فقال: { وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ } بامتثال أمرهما الذي أعظمه طاعتهما في التوحيد، ثم الأوامر على اختلاف درجاتها واجتناب نهيهما الذي أعظمُه الشرك بالله، ثم المعاصي على اختلاف طبقاتها { يُدْخِلْهُ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا } . ـ

Then Allah said, Continue reading

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Tafsir of Surah al-Fatihah: Imam al-Sa’di

In the beginning of his book of thematic tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di provided the following brief but highly beneficial explanation of surah al-Fatihah. This explanation is slightly more detailed than his previous explanation of surah al-Fatihah in his well-known complete work of tafsir, Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman:

ـ {بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ – الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ – الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ – مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ – إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ – اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ – صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ} [الفاتحة: 1 – 7] ـ

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّ‌حْمَـٰنِ الرَّ‌حِيمِ * الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ رَ‌بِّ الْعَالَمِينَ * الرَّ‌حْمَـٰنِ الرَّ‌حِيمِ * مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ * إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ * اهْدِنَا الصِّرَ‌اطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ * صِرَ‌اطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ‌ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ

In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. * [All] praise is [due] to Allah, Lord of the worlds – * The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful, * Sovereign of the Day of Recompense. * It is You we worship and You we ask for help. * Guide us to the straight path – * The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray. [1:1-7]

أي: أبتدئ بكل اسم لله تعالى، لأن لفظ ” اسم ” مفرد مضاف، فيعم جميع أسماء الله الحسنى؛ فيكون العبد مستعينا بربه، وبكل اسم من أسمائه على ما يناسبه من المطالب، وأجل ما يستعان به على عبادة الله؛ وأجل ذلك الاستعانة على قراءة كلام الله، وتفهم معانيه، والاهتداء بهديه. ـ

Meaning: I begin with every name of Allah the Exalted, because the word “name” occurs in the singular and attached state, and it therefore includes all of Allah’s beautiful names. So the slave seeks the aid of his Lord with every one of His names according to what is appropriate for his goals, and the most lofty of things to seek His aid in is the worship of Allah. And the most lofty form of that is to seek His aid in reading the Words of Allah, understanding their meanings and being guided by their guidance.

ـ (الله) هو المألوه المستحق لإفراده بالمحبة والخوف والرجاء وأنواع العبادة كلها، لما اتصف به من صفات الكمال، وهي التي تدعو الخلق إلى عبادته والتأله له. ـ

Allah” – He is the One who is revered, the One deserving to be singled out exclusively with love, fear, hope and all varieties of acts of worship due to what He is characterized with of perfect attributes, and these are what call the creation to worship and revere Him.

ـ {الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ} [الفاتحة: 1] اسمان دالان على أنه تعالى ذو الرحمة الواسعة العظيمة التي وسعت كل شيء، وعمت كل مخلوق، وكتب الرحمة الكاملة للمتقين المتبعين لأنبيائه ورسله؛ فهؤلاء لهم الرحمة المطلقة المتصلة بالسعادة الأبدية، ومن عداهم محروم من هذه الرحمة الكاملة، لأنه الذي دفع هذه الرحمة وأباها بتكذيبه للخبر، وتوليه عن الأمر، فلا يلومن إلا نفسه. ـ

al-Rahman al-Raheem” – These two names show that He possesses the attribute of vast and tremendous Mercy which extends unto everything and encompasses every created being. And He decreed complete mercy for the muttaqoon – those who follow the His prophets and messengers. So for those ones, there is unrestricted mercy which leads them to everlasting joy, and whoever opposes them is deprived of this complete mercy because they are the ones who repel this mercy and refuse it by their denial of the message and their turning away from the command, so they only have themselves to blame. Continue reading

The Appropriate Places for Gentleness and for Harshness: Imam al-Sa’di

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di made the following beneficial clarification in part of his thematic tafsir:

فائدة: من الحكمة استعمال اللين في معاشرة المؤمنين، وفي مقام الدعوة للكافرين، كما قال تعالى: { فَبِمَا رَ‌حْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ }  [ آل عمران: 159 ]. وقال: { فَقُولَا لَهُ قَوْلًا لَّيِّنًا لَّعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ‌ أَوْ يَخْشَىٰ }  [ طه: 44 ]  . فأمر باللين في هذه المواضع، وذكر ما يترتب عليه من المصالح . ـ

A point of benefit: It is part of hikmah (wisdom) to employ gentleness in interactions with the believers and in situations of giving da’wah to the disbelievers, just as Allah said:

فَبِمَا رَ‌حْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ

And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you [3:159]

And He said:

فَقُولَا لَهُ قَوْلًا لَّيِّنًا لَّعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ‌ أَوْ يَخْشَىٰ

And speak to him [i.e. Fir’awn] gently, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear Allah. [20:44]

So He commanded having gentleness in these places, and He mentioned some of the benefits that follow from that.

 كما أن من الحكمة استعمال الغلظة في موضعها. قال تعالى: { يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ جَاهِدِ الْكُفَّارَ‌ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ } [ التحريم: 9 ] ؛ لأن المقام هنا مقام لا تفيد فيه الدعوة، بل قد تعين فيه القتال ، فالغلظة فيه من تمام القتال . ـ

And likewise it is part of hikmah for employ harshness in its proper place. Allah said: Continue reading

Idle Wishing – Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-Nisaa’, Allah addresses the believers by saying:

وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۚ لِّلرِّ‌جَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبُوا ۖ وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبْنَ ۚ وَاسْأَلُوا اللَّـهَ مِن فَضْلِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا

And do not wish for that by which Allah has made some of you exceed others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask Allah of his bounty. Indeed Allah is ever, of all things, Knowing. [4:32]

In his short book of miscellaneous tafsir-based benefits, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di brought a point of benefit related to this ayah and then proceeded to outline its contents in light of that:

لا يمنع الله تعالى عبده شيئا إلا فتح له بابا أنفع له منه وأسهل وأولى ، قال تعالى : [وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۚ لِّلرِّ‌جَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبُوا ۖ وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبْنَ ۚ وَاسْأَلُوا اللَّـهَ مِن فَضْلِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا ] <النساء 32> فمنع الله من تمني ما فضّل الله به بعض العبيد على بعض ، وأخبر أن كل عامل من الرجال والنساء له نصيب وحظ من كسبه ، فحض الصنفين على الاجتهاد في الكسب النافع ، ونهاهم عن التمني الذي ليس بنافع ، وفتح لهم أبواب الفضل والإحسان ، ودعاهم إلى سؤال ذلك بلسان الحال ولسان المقال ، وأخبرهم بكمال علمه وحكمته ، وأن من ذلك أنه لا يُنال ما عنده إلا بطاعته ، ولا تُنال المطالب العالية إلا بالسعي والاجتهاد ، والله الموفق لكل خير . ـ

Allah does not prevent a slave of his from anything except that he opens up a door for him which is more beneficial to him, easier and more appropriate. Allah said:

وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۚ لِّلرِّ‌جَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبُوا ۖ وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبْنَ ۚ وَاسْأَلُوا اللَّـهَ مِن فَضْلِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا

And do not wish for that by which Allah has made some of you exceed others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask Allah of his bounty. Indeed Allah is ever, of all things, Knowing. [4:32]

So Allah forbade wishing for that with which He has caused some of His slaves to exceed others. And He informed us that every doer of deeds – both male and female – has a share and a portion of their earnings due to them. Continue reading

“And for that He created them…”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

Allah says in His Book in surah Hud:

وَمَا كَانَ رَ‌بُّكَ لِيُهْلِكَ الْقُرَ‌ىٰ بِظُلْمٍ وَأَهْلُهَا مُصْلِحُونَ * وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَ‌بُّكَ لَجَعَلَ النَّاسَ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً ۖ وَلَا يَزَالُونَ مُخْتَلِفِينَ * إِلَّا مَن رَّ‌حِمَ رَ‌بُّكَ ۚ وَلِذَٰلِكَ خَلَقَهُمْ ۗ وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَةُ رَ‌بِّكَ لَأَمْلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ

And your Lord would not have destroyed the cities unjustly while their people were reformers. And if your Lord had willed, He could have made mankind one community; but they will not cease to differ. Except whom your Lord has given mercy, and for that He created them. But the word of your Lord is to be fulfilled that, “I will surely fill Hell with jinn and men all together.” [11:117-119]

Imam al-Qurtubi, in his book of tafsir, wrote about these ayaat:

قوله تعالى‏{‏وما كان ربك ليهلك القرى‏}‏ أي أهل القرى‏.‏ ‏}‏بظلم‏}‏ أي بشرك وكفر‏.‏ ‏}‏وأهلها مصلحون‏}‏ أي فيما بينهم في تعاطي الحقوق؛ أي لم يكن ليهلكهم بالكفر وحده حتى ينضاف إليه الفساد، كما أهلك قوم شعيب ببخس المكيال والميزان، وقوم لوط باللواط؛ ودل هذا على أن المعاصي أقرب إلى عذاب الاستئصال في الدنيا من الشرك، وإن كان عذاب الشرك في الآخرة أصعب‏.‏

And Allah’s statement, “And your Lord would not have destroyed the cities” – meaning the people of the cities – “unjustly” – meaning for their shirk and kufr – “while their people were reformers” – meaning that amongst them were those gave each other their rights. Meaning that He would did not destroy them for kufr alone until they add corruption to that, such as the people of Shu’aib when they undervalued the weight and measure [in their financial transactions], or the people of Lut for their sodomy. And this shows that disobedience is more conducive to an eradicating punishment in the dunya than al-shirk, even though the punishment of al-shirk is more severe in the aakhirah Continue reading

Eemaan, jihaad and Hajj mabroor: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali writes the following under the chapter heading, “Concerning the Hajj, it’s virtues and an incitement to perform it”:

في الصحيحين [ عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال : أفضل الأعمال إيمان بالله و رسوله ثم جهاد في سبيل الله ثم حج مبرور ] هذه الأعمال الثلاثة ترجع في الحقيقة إلى عملين

In the Saheehayn, Abu Huyayrah narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best of deeds is eemaan in Allah and His messenger, then jihaad in the path of Allah, then Hajj mabroor.” These three deeds, in reality, return back to being two deeds.

أحدهما : الإيمان بالله و رسوله و هو التصديق الجازم بالله و ملائكته و كتبه و رسله و اليوم الآخر كما فسر النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم الإيمان بذلك في سؤال جبريل و في غيره من الأحاديث و قد ذكر الله تعالى الإيمان بهذه الأصول في مواضع كثيرة من كتابه كأول البقرة و وسطها و آخرها

The first of them is al-eemaan in Allah and His messenger, and that is firm affirmation of Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers and the Last Day as they are explained by the Prophet (ﷺ). Having eemaan in that was in the question of Jibreel and others besides him in various aahaadeeth, and Allah the Almighty has mention al-eemaan with this foundation in numerous places in His book, such as the beginning of surah al-Baqarah and its middle and its end. Continue reading

Do not make your houses like graves: Sharh al-Nawawi

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar narrates that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

اجعلوا من صلاتكم في بيوتكم ولا تتخذوها قبوراً

“Observe some of your prayers in your houses and do not make them (like) graves.”

[Muslim #777]

Imam al-Nawawi, in his explanation of Saheeh Muslim, writes:

باب استحباب صلاة النافلة في بيته وجوازها في المسجد

The chapter on the desirability of optional [nawaafil] prayer in one’s house and the permissibility of it in the masjid

 وسواء في هذا الراتبة وغيرها إلا الشعائر الظاهرة وهي العيد والكسوف والاستسقاء والتراويح وكذا ما لا يتأتى في غير المسجد كتحية المسجد ويندب كونه في المسجد هي ركعتا الطواف . ـ

[And just as this applies to optional (nawaafil) prayers] this also applies routine optional prayers (al-rawaatib) and others, except for those prayers which are the outward rituals, and they are the ‘eid prayer, and al-kusoof (eclipse prayer), and al-istisqaa’ (prayer for rain), and al-taraaweeh (night prayer during Ramadhaan), and others such as those which cannot be done except in the masjid such as tahiyyah al-masjid (prayer for greeting the masjid) and those whose performance is relegated to the masjid such as two raka’aat of Tawaaf. Continue reading

Seek the Hereafter, and do not forget your share of the dunya: Tafsir al-Baghawi

In surah al-Qasas, Allah says:

وَابْتَغِ فِيمَا آتَاكَ اللَّـهُ الدَّارَ‌ الْآخِرَ‌ةَ ۖ وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَأَحْسِن كَمَا أَحْسَنَ اللَّـهُ إِلَيْكَ ۖ وَلَا تَبْغِ الْفَسَادَ فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ

But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And do not seek corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters. [28:77]

Imam al-Baghawi, in his book of tafsir, wrote:

 ـ ( وابتغ فيما آتاك الله الدار الآخرة ) اطلب فيما أعطاك الله من الأموال والنعمة والجنة وهو أن تقوم بشكر الله فيما أنعم عليك وتنفقه في رضا الله تعالى  . ـ

But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter” – seek, through that which Allah has bestowed on you of wealth, blessings, and Jannah – and that is done through skukr (gratitude) to Allah concerning that with which He has blessed you and that you spend in the pleasure of Allah the Exalted.

 ـ ( ولا تنس نصيبك من الدنيا ) قال مجاهد ، وابن زيد : لا تترك أن تعمل في الدنيا للآخرة حتى تنجو من العذاب ، لأن حقيقة نصيب الإنسان من الدنيا أن يعمل للآخرة . وقال السدي : بالصدقة وصلة الرحم . وقال علي : لا تنس صحتك وقوتك وشبابك وغناك أن تطلب بها الآخرة . أخبرنا عبد الواحد المليحي ، أخبرنا أبو الحسن أحمد بن محمد بن شاذان ، أخبرنا أبو يزيد حاتم بن محبوب الشامي ، أخبرنا حسين المروزي ، أخبرنا عبد الله بن المبارك ، أخبرنا جعفر بن برقان ، عن زياد بن الجراح ، عن عمرو بن ميمون الأودي قال : قال رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – لرجل : وهو يعظه : ” اغتنم خمسا قبل خمس : شبابك قبل هرمك ، وصحتك قبل سقمك ، وغناك قبل فقرك ، وفراغك قبل شغلك ، وحياتك قبل موتك ” الحديث مرسل . قال الحسن : أمره أن يقدم الفضل ويمسك ما يغنيه ، قال منصور بن زاذان في قوله : ” ولا تنس نصيبك من الدنيا ” ، قال : قوتك وقوت أهلك

And do not forget your share of the world.” Mujaahid and ibn Zaid said, “Do not leave off working in the this life for the Hereafter until you are saved from the punishment. For the reality of man’s share of the world is that he works for the Hereafter.” And al-Suddi said, “With saqadah and connecting the familial relations.” And ‘Ali said, ” Do not forget your health, strength, youth, or wealth, so that you can use them to seek the Hereafter.” And ‘Amr ibn Maymoon al-Awdi said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said while he was giving admonition, “Seize five things before five things: 1) your youth before your old age, 2) your health before your sickness, 3) your wealth before your poverty, 4) your free-time before being busy, and 5) your life before your death.” And this hadeeth is mursal (i.e. missing a link somewhere in its chain of narration). And al-Hasan said, “He commanded him to prioritize the blessings and take hold of that which would benefit him.” Mansoor ibn Zaadhaan said about His statement, “Do not forget your share of the world” – “[meaning] your strength and the strength of your family.”

 ـ ( وأحسن كما أحسن الله إليك ) [ أي : أحسن بطاعة الله ] كما أحسن الله إليك بنعمته . وقيل : أحسن إلى الناس كما أحسن الله إليك ( ولا تبغ الفساد في الأرض ) من عصى الله فقد طلب الفساد في الأرض ( إن الله لا يحب المفسدين ) ـ

And do good as Allah has done good to you” – meaning: do good through obedience to Allah just as Allah has done good for you by His blessings. And it is said: Do good to the people just as Allah has done good to you. “And do not seek corruption in the land” – whoever disobeys Allah, then he has sought corruption in the land. “Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.

[Tafsir al-Baghawi 6/221-222]

See also: The Story of Qarun: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Which is more virtuous – memorizing the Qur’an, or seeking ‘ilm? : Ibn Taymiyah

One of the numerous topics addressed by Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah, in his epic work Majmoo’a al-Fataawa, was posed as: “Which is more virtuous: Memorizing the Qur’an, or seeking ‘ilm? The Sheikh’s response:

فأجاب : أما العلم الذي يجب على الإنسان عينا كعلم ما أمر الله به وما نهى الله عنه فهو مقدم على حفظ ما لا يجب من القرآن فإن طلب العلم الأول واجب وطلب الثاني مستحب والواجب مقدم على المستحب .

The answer: As for the ‘ilm which is obligatory for each individual, such as knowledge of what Allah commanded him with and what Allah prohibited him from, then this takes precedence over memorization of what is not obligatory from the Qur’an. Definitely seeking knowledge of the first kind is obligatory while seeking the second kind is commendable, and the obligatory matters take precedence over the commendable ones. Continue reading

“Those who listen to speech and follow the best of it”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in His Book in surah al-Zumar:

وَالَّذِينَ اجْتَنَبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ أَن يَعْبُدُوهَا وَأَنَابُوا إِلَى اللَّـهِ لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَ‌ىٰ ۚ فَبَشِّرْ‌ عِبَادِ * الَّذِينَ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقَوْلَ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَاهُمُ اللَّـهُ ۖ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمْ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

“But those who have avoided Taaghoot, lest they worship it, and turned back to Allah – for them are good tidings. So give good tidings to My servants, those who listen to speech and follow the best of it. Those are the ones Allah has guided, and those are people of understanding.” [39:17-18]

Imam al-Sa’di explains this in his tafsir by writing:

لما ذكر حال المجرمين ذكر حال المنيبين وثوابهم، فقال‏:‏ ‏(‏وَالَّذِينَ اجْتَنَبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ أَنْ يَعْبُدُوهَا‏)‏ والمراد بالطاغوت في هذا الموضع، عبادة غير اللّه، فاجتنبوها في عبادتها‏.‏ وهذا من أحسن الاحتراز من الحكيم العليم، لأن المدح إنما يتناول المجتنب لها في عبادتها‏.‏

When Allah mentions the condition of the ­mujrimun (polytheists, sinners, criminals, the disobedient to Allah, etc.), He also mentions the condition of the repentant and their reward, so He said, “But those who have avoided Taaghoot, lest they worship it” – and the intended meaning here of al-Taaghoot is the worship of other than Allah, so avoid them and their worship. And this is one of the best acts of caution concerning al-Hakeem al-Aleem (The Wise and all-Knowing), because the commendation (from Allah, for this action) is only dealing with avoiding them and their worship. Continue reading