The Sahabah on Obeying the Muslim Ruler: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In part of his tafsir of surah al-Nur, al-Haafidh Abu’l-Fidaa’ Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir mentioned the following statements of the great mufassir from among the Taabi’oon, Qataadah:

وقال قتادة في هذه الآية : ( أن يقولوا سمعنا وأطعنا ) ذكر لنا أن عبادة بن الصامت – وكان عقبيا بدريا ، أحد نقباء الأنصار – أنه لما حضره الموت قال لابن أخيه جنادة بن أبي أمية : ألا أنبئك بماذا عليك وماذا لك؟ قال : بلى . قال : فإن عليك السمع والطاعة ، في عسرك ويسرك ، ومنشطك ومكرهك ، وأثرة عليك . وعليك أن تقيم لسانك بالعدل ، وألا تنازع الأمر أهله ، إلا أن يأمروك بمعصية الله بواحا ، فما أمرت به من شيء يخالف كتاب الله ، فاتبع كتاب الله . ـ

Regarding the ayah:

إِنَّمَا كَانَ قَوْلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذَا دُعُوا إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَرَ‌سُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَن يَقُولُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۚ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger, to judge between them, is that they say: “We hear and we obey.” And such are the successful ones. [24:51]

Qataadah said:

It was mentioned to us that when ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit – and he was one of the Sahabah who was present for the Pledge of al-‘Aqabah and at the Battle of Badr, and was one of the leaders of the Ansar – was on his deathbed, he said to his nephew Junaadah ibn Abi Umayyah, “Shall I not inform you of what is incumbent upon you?” “Of course!”, his nephew replied.

He said, “Indeed, listening and obeying is mandatory upon you, whether it is regarding something easy for you or difficult, whether in good times or bad, even if the leader were to show favoritism towards certain people over others. And it is incumbent upon you limit your tongue to speaking with justice, and that you do not dispute with those in authority regarding their commands – unless they command you to perform a clear act of disobedience to Allah. Then, if they command you to do anything which conflicts with the Book of Allah, follow the Book of Allah.” Continue reading

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The Virtue of this Ummah over the Previous Nations: Imam al-Shinqitee

The following discussion is an excerpt from a class of the famous mufassir, sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee. The class was delivered in his home to a group of his students. It was recorded, and subsequently transcribed and published in a collection of similar lessons and recorded events. This particular excerpt occurred during a lesson in which sheikh al-Shinqitee was explaining part of surah al-Baqarah, during his discussion of the ayah:

يَا بَنِي إِسْرَ‌ائِيلَ اذْكُرُ‌وا نِعْمَتِيَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأَنِّي فَضَّلْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

O Banu Israa’eel, remember My favor that I have bestowed upon you and that I preferred you over all creation [2:47]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee explained:

وقوله هنا {فَضَّلْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ} ؛ أي : على عالمي زمانكم الذي أنتم فيه ، فلا ينافي أن هذه الأمة التي هي أمة محمد ﷺ أفضل منهم ، كما نصّ الله على ذلك بقوله : {كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ} الآية [آل عمران 110] ، وفي حديث معاوية بن حيدة القشيري عن النبي ﷺ : أَنْتُمْ تُوفُونَ سَبْعِينَ أُمَّةً أَنْتُمْ خَيْرُهَا وَأَكْرَمُهَا عَلَى اللَّهِ . ـ

Allah’s statement here:

 فَضَّلْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

 I preferred you over all creation [2:47]

meaning: over all creation of the time in which they were living, so this does not conflict with the fact that this ummah – which is the ummah of Muhammad (ﷺ) – is the best of nations, as Allah informed us in His statement:

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ‌ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِ‌جَتْ لِلنَّاسِ

You are the best nation brought forth for mankind … [3:110]

…until the end of the ayah. And in the hadeeth of Mu’aawiyah ibn Haidah al-Qushairi that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “You succeeded seventy nations and you are the best of them and the most noble of them in the sight of Allah”. Continue reading

The Virtue of Memorizing the Qur’an: Sheikh Muqbil

Sheikh Muqbil ibn Haadee al-Waadi’ee was asked:

نص السؤال: هل حفظ القرآن الكريم واجب على المسلم أم التدبر والعمل به ؟

Question: Is memorizing the Qur’an an obligation for the Muslim, or is contemplating it and acting in accordance with it what is obligatory?

نص الإجابة: التدبر بمعانيه والعمل به وأحكامه هو الواجب ، وأما الحفظ ففضيلة عظيمة ؛ ” الماهر بالقرآن مع السفرة الكرام البررة ، والذي يقرأه ويتتعتع فيه وهو عليه شاق له أجران ” ، ويقول النبي – صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم – : ” يقال لصحاب القرآن : اقرأ وارتق ورتل كما كنت ترتل في الدنيا فإن منزلتك عند آخر آية تقرأءها ” ، وكان النبي – صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم – يشجع أصحابه على حفظ القرآن وعلى تعلم القرآن فقال كما في حديث عقبة بن عامر عند مسلم : ” لئن يغدو أحدكم إلى المسجد فيتعلم آيه خير له من ناقة ، وآيتين خير له من ناقتين ، وثلاث وأربع خيرٌ له من أعدادهن ” . ـ

Response: Contemplating its meanings and acting in accordance with it and its rulings is what is obligatory. As for memorization, then that is a excellent virtue.

The one who is skilled in the Qur’an will be with the noble righteous recording angels, and the one who recites while experiencing difficulty in doing so, stumbling over it, will have two rewards.

And the Prophet (ﷺ) also said:

It will be said to the one who has any of the Qur’an memorized, “Recite and ascend in rank. Recite in the same manner and speed that used to recite during the worldly life, and your rank will be at the last ayah that your recite.”

And the Prophet (ﷺ) used to encourage his companions to memorize the Qur’an and to study the Qur’an, just as he said in the hadeeth of ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir recorded by Muslim: Continue reading

The Sahabah and Tabi’oon known for their Tafsir: al-Suyooti

In his famous work detailing the sciences of the Qur’an, sheikh Jalaal al-Deen al-Suyooti included a section on the different generations of mufassiroon (Qur’anic exegetes). What follows is a condensed and streamlined presentation of the first part of this chapter, as prepared by sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Umar Bazmool:

طبقة الصحابة
The Level of the Sahabah

اشتهر بالتفسير من الصحابة عشرة : الخلفاء الأربعة ، وابن مسعود ، وابن عباس ، وأبي بن كعب ، وزيد بن ثابت ، وأبو موسى الأشعري ، وعبد الله بن الزبير . ـ

Those who are well known among the sahabah for tafsir are ten: the four Khulafaa’ [Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, and ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib], ibn Mas’ood, ibn ‘Abbas, Ubay ibn Ka’b, Zayd ibn Thaabit, Abu Moosaa al-Ash’ari, and ‘Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr.

أما الخلفاء ؛ فأكثر من روي عنه منهم : على بن أبي طالب ، والرواية عن الثلاثة نزرة جداً ، وكان السبب في ذلك تقدم وفاتهم ، كما أن ذلك هو السبب في قلة رواية أبي بكر رضي الله عنه للحديث ، ولا أحفظ عن أبي بكر رضي الله عنه في التفسير إلا آثاراً قليلة جداً ، لا تكاد تجاوز العشرة ، وأما على ؛ فروي عنه الكثير . ـ

As for the Khulafaa’, then the one from whom the most is transmitted is ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib, while what is transmitted from the other three is very little. The reason for that is because those three died earlier, just as that is the reason why there is little in the way of hadeeth narrated from Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), nor was much preserved from Abu Bakr in the way tafsir except for a very few statements which hardly even amount to ten in total. But as for ‘Ali, then a great deal was transmitted from him. Continue reading

“Not for you is the decision…” : Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah Aali ‘Imran, Allah addresses His messenger by saying:

لَيْسَ لَكَ مِنَ الْأَمْرِ‌ شَيْءٌ أَوْ يَتُوبَ عَلَيْهِمْ أَوْ يُعَذِّبَهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ ظَالِمُونَ * وَلِلَّـهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ ۚ يَغْفِرُ‌ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ‌ رَّ‌حِيمٌ

Not for you is the decision; whether He turns in mercy to them or He punishes them; for verily they are the wrongdoers. * And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. He forgives whom He wills, and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [3:128-129]

Commenting on these two ayaat in his famous book of tafsir, Imam al-Sa’di wrote:

لما جرى يوم “أحد” ما جرى، وجرى على النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم مصائب، رفع الله بها درجته، فشج رأسه وكسرت رباعيته، قال “كيف يفلح قوم شجوا نبيهم” وجعل يدعو على رؤساء من المشركين مثل أبي سفيان بن حرب، وصفوان بن أمية وسهيل بن عمرو، والحارث بن هشام

When what happened on the Day of Uhud transpired and the happenings which afflicted the Prophet (ﷺ), Allah raised his level by that, for his skull had been fractured and his eye-teeth broken. The Prophet said, “How can a people who distress their prophet succeed?!” and he supplicated against the leaders of the mushrikoon such as Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, Saywan ibn Umayyah, Suhail ibn ‘Amr, and al-Haarith ibn Hishaam.

أنزل الله تعالى على رسوله نهيا له عن الدعاء عليهم باللعنة والطرد عن رحمة الله { ليس لك من الأمر شيء } إنما عليك البلاغ وإرشاد الخلق والحرص على مصالحهم، وإنما الأمر لله تعالى هو الذي يدبر الأمور، ويهدي من يشاء ويضل من يشاء، فلا تدع عليهم بل أمرهم راجع إلى ربهم، إن اقتضت حكمته ورحمته أن يتوب عليهم ويمن عليهم بالإسلام فعل، وإن اقتضت حكمته إبقاءهم على كفرهم وعدم هدايتهم، فإنهم هم الذين ظلموا أنفسهم وضروها وتسببوا بذلك، فعل، وقد تاب الله على هؤلاء المعينين وغيرهم، فهداهم للإسلام رضي الله عنهم

Allah revealed a prohibition to His messenger against supplicating against them with curses and supplicating for them to be excluded from the mercy of Allah:

لَيْسَ لَكَ مِنَ الْأَمْرِ‌ شَيْءٌ

Not for you is the decision… [3:128]

the only thing incumbent upon you is conveying the message, directing the creation to the truth and being eager for their rectification, but the affair is only for Allah – He is the One who manages the affairs, and He guides whom He wills and misguides whom He wills. So do not supplicate against them; in reality their affair returns back to their Lord. If His wisdom and mercy entails that He would turn to them in forgiveness and bless them with Islam, then He will do so. But if His wisdom entails causing them to remain in their disbelief and the absence of their being guided – for indeed they are the ones who have wronged themselves and harmed themselves and caused that themselves – (if that is the case) then He will do that. And Allah did in fact turn in repentance to these specific people and to others as well, for He guided them to Islam – may Allah be pleased with them. Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Fatihah: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

The book Al-Tafsir al-Muyassar was written by a group of scholars under the direction of sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh, Minister of Islamic Affairs for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was designed to be a simple and easy-to-understand tafsir according to the understanding of the salaf. What follows is its brief tafsir of surah al-Fatihah and translation:

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّ‌حْمَـٰنِ الرَّ‌حِيمِ

In the Name of Allah, al-Rahman al-Raheem (1)

سورة الفاتحة سميت هذه السورة بالفاتحة؛ لأنه يفتتح بها القرآن العظيم، وتسمى المثاني؛ لأنها تقرأ في كل ركعة، ولها أسماء أخر. ـ

Surah al-Fatihah – This surah is called al-Fatihah [the Opening] because it is what the magnificent Qur’an opens with. And it is called al-Mathaani [the oft-repeated] because it is recited in every unit of prayer. And it also has other names.

أبتدئ قراءة القرآن باسم الله مستعينا به . ـ

One begins reciting the Qur’an with the name of Allah, seeking aid in Him.

ـ {اللهِ} علم على الرب- تبارك وتعالى- المعبود بحق دون سواه، وهو أخص أسماء الله تعالى، ولا يسمى به غيره سبحانه. ـ

“Allah” is a designation indicating the Rabb – blessed and exalted is He – , the rightful object of worship to the exclusion of any others. And this is the most exclusive of Allah’s names, and none other than Him are called by it.

ـ {الرَّحْمَنِ} ذي الرحمة العامة الذي وسعت رحمته جميع الخلق . ـ

al-Rahman” is the possessor of a general rahmah [mercy], the One whose rahmah extends to all of the creation.

ـ {الرَّحِيمِ} بالمؤمنين، وهما اسمان من أسمائه تعالى، يتضمنان إثبات صفة الرحمة لله تعالى كما يليق بجلاله. ـ

al-Raheem” [the especially merciful] to the believers. And these are two of His names, both of which include an affirmation of Allah’s attribute of al-Rahmah as is befitting of His majesty. Continue reading

Two things for which there are no concessions

Following the great victory for the Muslims at the Battle of al-Qaadisiyyah, Ameer al-Mu’mineen ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab wrote a letter to his commander Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas wherein he said:

أما بعد فإن الله جل وعلا أنزل في كل شيء رخصة في بعد الحالات إلا في أمريم : العدل في السيرة والذكر. فأما الذكر فلا رخصة فيه في حال ، ولم يرض منه إلا كثير . وأما العدل فلا رخصة فيه في قريب ولا بعيد ، ولا في شدة ولا في رجاء. والعدل – وإن رئي لينًا – فهو أقوى وأطفأ للجور ، وأقمع للباطل من الجور

“To proceed: Verily Allah has provided concessions for everything in certain circumstances, except for two things: Justice and Dhikr. As for dhikr (remembrance of Allah), there is no concession under any circumstances and Allah is not pleased with anything except a great deal of it. And as for justice; there is no concession in it, neither at times of hardship nor ease. And justice – even if it appears soft – it is stronger than injustice and is more able to suppress falsehood than injustice.”

[Taareekh al-Tabari 4/410]

See also: “If there had been a concession for anyone in leaving off dhikr…”

See also: “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: “O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Everything has two ends and a middle

The command to extol the Prophet, and the punishment for harming him or the believers: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah mentions the following in surah al-Ahzaab:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ ۚ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا * إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ اللَّـهَ وَرَ‌سُولَهُ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّـهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَ‌ةِ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا مُّهِينًا * وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ بِغَيْرِ‌ مَا اكْتَسَبُوا فَقَدِ احْتَمَلُوا بُهْتَانًا وَإِثْمًا مُّبِينًا

Verily Allah and His angels offer salaah on the Prophet. O you who believe! Send salaah on him , and offer greeting of peace in submission. * Verily, those who trouble Allah and His Messenger, Allah curses them in this world, and in the Hereafter, and prepares for them a humiliating torment. * And those who harm the believing men and believing women undeservedly, they indeed carry a slander and plain sin. [33:56-58]

Commenting on this in his famous book of tafsir, Imam al-Sa’di wrote:

وهذا فيه تنبيه على كمال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وسلم، ورفعة درجته، وعلو منزلته عند اللّه وعند خلقه، ورفع ذكره. و { إِنَّ اللَّهَ } تعالى {وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ } عليه، أي: يثني اللّه عليه بين الملائكة، وفي الملأ الأعلى، لمحبته تعالى له، وتثني عليه الملائكة المقربون، ويدعون له ويتضرعون. ـ

And this is a notification of the excellence of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and the elevation of his rank and the highness of his status in the sight of Allah and in the sight of the creation, and an elevation of his mention. And “verily Allah” the High “and His angels offer salaah” on him – meaning: Allah extols him among the angels and in the highest of gatherings due to His great love for him. And the close angels extol him and supplicate and beseech (Allah) on his behalf.[1] Continue reading

Abu Bakr’s and Umar’s visit to Umm Ayman: Sharh al-Nawawi

In his chapter on the virtues on the sahaabah, imam Muslim mentions the following narration concerning the virtues of Umm Ayman:

عَنْ أَنَسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ رضى الله عنه بَعْدَ وَفَاةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لِعُمَرَ انْطَلِقْ بِنَا إِلَى أُمِّ أَيْمَنَ نَزُورُهَا كَمَا كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَزُورُهَا ‏.‏ فَلَمَّا انْتَهَيْنَا إِلَيْهَا بَكَتْ فَقَالاَ لَهَا مَا يُبْكِيكِ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لِرَسُولِهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏.‏ فَقَالَتْ مَا أَبْكِي أَنْ لاَ أَكُونَ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لِرَسُولِهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَلَكِنْ أَبْكِي أَنَّ الْوَحْىَ قَدِ انْقَطَعَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ ‏.‏ فَهَيَّجَتْهُمَا عَلَى الْبُكَاءِ فَجَعَلاَ يَبْكِيَانِ مَعَهَا

Anas reported that after the death of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) Abu Bakr said to ‘Umar, “Let us visit Umm Aiman as Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to visit her.” When we came to her, she was weeping. They (Abu Bakr and Umar) said to her, “What makes you weep? What is with Allah is better for the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).” She said, “I weep not because I do not know of the fact that what is with Allah is better for the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), but I weep because the revelation which came from the Heaven has ceased to come. This moved both of them to tears and they began to weep along with her.

[Saheeh Muslim #2454]

Imam al-Nawawi, in his commentary on Saheeh Muslim mentions the following points of benefit concerning the permissible and recommended activities which are derived from this hadeeth:

قوله : ( قال أبو بكر بعد وفاة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لعمر رضي الله عنه : انطلق بنا إلى أم أيمن نزورها ، كما كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يزورها ) فيه زيارة الصالحين وفضلها ، وزيارة الصالح لمن هو دونه ، وزيارة الإنسان لمن كان صديقه يزوره ، ولأهل ود صديقه ، وزيارة جماعة من الرجال للمرأة الصالحة ، وسماع كلامها ، واستصحاب العالم والكبير صاحبا له في الزيارة ، والعيادة ، ونحوهما . والبكاء حزنا على فراق الصالحين والأصحاب ، وإن كانوا قد انتقلوا إلى أفضل مما كانوا عليه . والله أعلم .

His statement, “Abu Bakr said to ‘Umar, ‘Let us visit Umm Aiman as Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to visit her.‘” This includes (the permission and/or recommendation of):

-visiting the righteous people and the virtue of that;
-the righteous person visiting those who are less (righteous) than him;
-people visiting those who their friends used to visit and (visiting) the dearly beloved people of their friend;
-a group of men visiting a righteous woman and listening to her speech;
-for the scholar or elder to bring along a companion with him in his visits, habitual activities, etc;
-weeping out of sadness over the loss of righteous people and companions [whether by death or separation], even if they have moved on to a better condition than that which they were previously in.

And Allah knows best.

[Sharh al-Nawawi ‘alaa Saheeh Muslim #2454]

“If he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels?”: Ibn al-Qayyim

Ibn al-Qayyim, while speaking about some of the events of the Battle of Uhud, mentions the following points of great benefit:

ومنها : أن وقعة أحد كانت مقدمة وإرهاصا بين يدي موت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فثبتهم ووبخهم على انقلابهم على أعقابهم إن مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أو قتل ، بل الواجب له عليهم أن يثبتوا على دينه وتوحيده ويموتوا عليه أو يقتلوا ، فإنهم إنما يعبدون رب محمد ، وهو حي لا يموت ، فلو مات محمد أو قتل لا ينبغي لهم أن يصرفهم ذلك عن دينه ، وما جاء به ، فكل نفس ذائقة الموت ، وما بعث محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم ليخلد لا هو ولا هم ، بل ليموتوا على الإسلام والتوحيد ، فإن الموت لا بد منه سواء مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أو بقي ،

And from the benefits: That the Battle of Uhud was like a precursor and prelude before their very eyes of the (actual) death of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). So Allah fortified them (for that eventually), and rebuked them for their having turned back on their heels in the event that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had died or been killed. Rather, it was obligatory upon them to remain firm upon his Deen and his (message of) tawheed and for them to die or be killed upon that. For verily they were only worshipping the Lord of Muhammad, and He is alive and does not die. So if Muhammad died or was killed, it is not appropriate for that to change them from his deen. And he did not come for that, for every soul will taste death, and Muhammad (ﷺ) was not sent to remain alive forever – neither he nor they. Rather, in order that they could die upon al-Islaam and al-Tawheed, for death is inevitable, whether it is the death of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) or anyone else. Continue reading