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

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The Meaning of “Laylah al-Qadr”: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah describes Laylah al-Qadr in the beginning of surah al-Dukhaan by saying:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ * فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ * أَمْرًا مِّنْ عِندِنَا

Indeed, We sent it down on a blessed night. Verily, We are ever warning * On that night every hakeem matter is apportioned *  A command from Us … [44:3-5]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee discusses some of the issues related to these ayaat in his famous book of tafsir. We have already translated his explanation of ayah number 3 here, and what follows is his explanation of ayah number 4:

قوله – تعالى – : فيها يفرق كل أمر حكيم أمرا من عندنا . معنى قوله : يفرق ، أي يفصل ويبين ، ويكتب في الليلة المباركة التي هي ليلة القدر – كل أمر حكيم ، أي ذي حكمة بالغة ; لأن كل ما يفعله الله مشتمل على أنواع الحكم الباهرة . وقال بعضهم : حكيم ، أي محكم ، لا تغيير فيه ولا تبديل . [ ص: 173 ] وكلا الأمرين حق ; لأن ما سبق في علم الله لا يتغير ولا يتبدل ، ولأن جميع أفعاله في غاية الحكمة . وهي في الاصطلاح وضع الأمور في مواضعها وإيقاعها في مواقعها . ـ

Allah’s statement:

فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ * أَمْرًا مِّنْ عِندِنَا

On that night every hakeem matter is apportioned * A command from Us … [44:4-5]

The meaning of Allah’s statement

يُفْرَقُ

… is apportioned …

is that every hakeem matter is determined, made clear, and written during that blessed night which is Laylah al-Qadr.

Continue reading

Better than One Thousand Months: Tafsir al-Baghawi

In surah al-Qadr, Allah describes Laylah al-Qadr by saying:

لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ

Laylah al-Qadr is better than one thousand months [97:3]

Imam al-Baghawi wrote the following in his commentary on this ayah:

قوله – عز وجل – : ( ليلة القدر خير من ألف شهر ) قال عطاء عن ابن عباس : ذكر لرسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – رجل من بني إسرائيل حمل السلاح على عاتقه في سبيل الله ألف شهر ، فعجب رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – لذلك وتمنى ذلك لأمته ، فقال : يا رب جعلت أمتي أقصر الأمم أعمارا وأقلها أعمالا ؟ فأعطاه الله ليلة القدر ، فقال : ( ليلة القدر خير من ألف شهر ) التي حمل فيها الإسرائيلي السلاح في سبيل الله ، لك ولأمتك إلى يوم القيامة . [ ص: 491 ] . ـ

Relaying from ibn ‘Abbaas, ‘Ataa’ said: The Messenger of Allah was told about a man from Banu Israa’eel who carried a sword on his shoulder in the path of Allah for one thousand months. So Allah’s Messenger was amazed by this and wished this for his ummah, saying, “O Lord, You made my ummah the shortest of nations in terms of lifespan and the least of them in terms of deeds?” So then Allah gave him Laylah al-Qadr and said,

لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ

Laylah al-Qadr is better than one thousand months

in which that man from Banu Israa’eel carried a sword in the path of Allah. It is for you and your ummah until the Day of Resurrection.” 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

tuhibbu’l-‘afwa

f’afu ‘anee

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

Some Benefits Derived from the Prophet’s Annual Review of the Qur’an with Jibril: Sheikh bin Baaz

The following question was posed the the former mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baaz:

السؤال: هل يمكن أن يستفاد من مدارسة جبرائيل عليه السلام للنبي ﷺ القرآن في رمضان أفضلية ختم القرآن؟ ـ

Question: Can we understand from the reviewing of the Qur’an with Jibril during Ramadan that completing the entire Qur’an during this month is an encouraged action?

الجواب: يستفاد منها المدارسة، وأنه يستحب للمؤمن أن يدارس القرآن من يفيده وينفعه؛ لأن الرسول عليه الصلاة والسلام دارس جبرائيل للاستفادة؛ لأن جبرائيل هو الذي يأتي من عند الله جل وعلا وهو السفير بين الله والرسل، فجبرائيل لابد أن يفيد النبي ﷺ أشياء من جهة الله ، من جهة حروف القرآن، ومن جهة معانيه التي أرادها الله. ـ

Response: From this reviewing, we can understand that it is recommended for the believers to study and review the Qur’an with someone who can benefit them. That is because the Messenger reviewed with Jibril in order to take some benefit, for Jibril was the one who came from Allah as an intermediary between Allah and the messengers. So of course Jibril was going to bring something of benefit from Allah to the Prophet – both in terms of the words of the Qur’an and in terms of the meanings which Allah intended by those words. Continue reading

Supplicating upon Completion of the Qur’an: Sheikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen was asked the following question during the program Fataawaa Noor ‘alaa al-Darb:

السؤال : سؤال يشكل على كثير من الإخوة المستمعين الكرام، السؤال يا فضيلة الشيخ: هو عن دعاء الختمة في أخر ليلة من رمضان، هل هو وارد عن الرسول الكريم أو عن السلف الصالح رضوان الله عليهم؟

Question: This is a question which has confused many of our respected brothers who are listening. The question, honorable sheikh, is about du’aa [supplication] upon completing the Qur’an on the last night of Ramadan – is this something which is textually transmitted from the Messenger or from the Salaf, may Allah be pleased with them?

الجواب الشيخ : الختمة التي يدعى بها في آخر رمضان ليس لها أصل في سنة الرسول عليه الصلاة والسلام، ولا عن خلفائه الراشدين، ولا عن أحد من الصحابة، فلا أعلم إلى ساعتي هذه أنه ورد عنهم أنهم كانوا يدعون مثل هذا  الدعاء في الصلاة. ـ

Response: The supplicating which people do at the end of Ramadan is not something which has any basis in the Sunnah of the Messenger (ﷺ), nor was it practiced by the Rightly-Guided Khulafaa’, nor by any of the Sahabah, and until now I don’t know of any textual evidence transmitted regarding them having practiced something like this supplication during the prayer.

نعم. ورد عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه أنه كان إذا ختم القرآن جمع أهله فدعا، وهذا في غير الصلاة وليس كل مشروع، وليس كل شيء مشروع خارج الصلاة يكون مشروعاً فيها؛ لأن الصلاة محددة في أفعالها محددة في أذكارها ـ

Yes, it has been transmitted from Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) that he used to gather his family members together and make supplication upon having completed the Qur’an. But this was not in the prayer, and what is legislated outside of the prayer isn’t necessarily legislated inside the prayer. For the prayer is something with well-defined guidelines regarding its specific actions and utterances. 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

The Relationship between Supplication and Fasting: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah devotes a series of ayaat in surah al-Baqarah [2:183-187] to the rulings of fasting. However, in the middle of these ayaat, He mentions the well-known ayah:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ

And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad) about Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the call of the supplicant when he calls Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be rightly guided. [2:186]

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir shed some light on the relationship of this ayah to the surrounding ayaat of fasting by writing:

وفي ذكره تعالى هذه الآية الباعثة على الدعاء ، متخللة بين أحكام الصيام ، إرشاد إلى الاجتهاد في الدعاء عند إكمال العدة ، بل وعند كل فطر . ـ

So Allah’s mention of this ayah encouraging supplication in midst of the rulings of fasting contains a directive to exert oneself in supplication when the entire period of fasting is completed – as well as of course at the breaking of every fast.

 كما رواه الإمام أبو داود الطيالسي في مسنده : حدثنا أبو محمد المليكي ، عن عمرو هو ابن شعيب بن محمد بن عبد الله بن عمرو ، عن أبيه ، عن جده عبد الله بن عمرو ، قال : سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : ” للصائم عند إفطاره دعوة مستجابة ” . فكان عبد الله بن عمرو إذ أفطر دعا أهله ، وولده ودعا . ـ

This is just as Imam Abu Dawud al-Tayaalisi recorded in his musnad … that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr said: I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) say, “At the time of breaking the fast, the fasting person has a supplication which is accepted.” And so when ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr used to break his fast, he would call the members of his household and supplicate. Continue reading

What is the minimum amount of time to complete reciting the Qur’an: Sheikh bin Baaz

Sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abdillah bin Baaz, the former mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was once asked the following question:

سؤال : ما أقل مدة يختم فيها القرآن؟

Question: What is the least amount of time in which one can complete his reading of the Qur’an?

جواب : ليس فيه حد محدود إلا أن الأفضل أن لا يقرأه في أقل من ثلاث كما في حديث عبد الله بن عمرو: ((لا يفقه من قرأه في أقل من ثلاث))، فالأفضل أن يتحرى في قراءته الخشوع والترتيل والتدبر، وليس المقصود العجلة، بل المقصود أن يستفيد . ـ

Response: There is no bottom limit for this except that what is best is to not recite the Qur’an in less than three days, as had come in the hadeeth of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, “Whoever recites the Qur’an in less than three days does not understand it.” So what is best is to aim to have khushoo’, measured recitation, and contemplation during one’s reading of the Qur’an. The goal is not to be speedy. Rather, the goal is to get something out of it. Continue reading

Preparing for Ramadan in Sha’baan: ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

al-Haafidh ibn Rajab al-Hanbali concluded his discussion of fasting during the month of Sha’baan (the eight month of the Islamic calendar, immediately preceding Ramadan) with the following notes:

وقد قيل: في صوم شعبان معنى آخر: أن صيامه كالتمرين على صيام رمضان لئلا يدخل في صوم رمضان على مشقة وكلفة بل قد تمرن على. الصيام واعتاده ووجد بصيام شعبان قبله حلاوة الصيام ولذته فيدخل في صيام رمضان بقوة ونشاط. ـ

Some have said that one of the effects of fasting during Sha’baan is that it acts like a training for the fast of Ramadan, in order that one can enter into Ramadan in good shape, being prepared for it and accustomed to fasting. And through fasting during Sha’baan, one will find and savor the sweetness of the fast, and so he will enter into Ramadan with vigor and determination.

ولما كان شعبان كالمقدمة لرمضان شرع فيه ما يشرع في رمضان من الصيام وقراءة القرآن ليحصل التأهب لتلقي رمضان وترتاض النفوس بذلك على طاعة الرحمن ـ

Sha’baan is like a precursor to Ramadan. The things which are legislated in Ramadan – such as fasting and reciting the Qur’an – are also legislated in Sha’baan so that one can be prepared to meet Ramadan and accustom himself to obeying al-Rahman. Continue reading