Cutting Off Shirk at its Very Roots: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in surah Saba’:

قُلِ ادْعُوا الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّـهِ ۖ لَا يَمْلِكُونَ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا لَهُمْ فِيهِمَا مِن شِرْكٍ وَمَا لَهُ مِنْهُم مِّن ظَهِيرٍ * وَلَا تَنفَعُ الشَّفَاعَةُ عِندَهُ إِلَّا لِمَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ ۚ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا فُزِّعَ عَن قُلُوبِهِمْ قَالُوا مَاذَا قَالَ رَبُّكُمْ ۖ قَالُوا الْحَقَّ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْكَبِيرُ

Say, “Invoke those you claim as deities besides Allah.” They do not possess an ant’s weight in the heavens or on the earth, nor do they have any share in ownership of either realm, nor are any of them an assistant to Him. * And intercession does not hold any avail with Him except from those whom He permits. When terror is removed from their hearts, they will say, “What has your Lord said?” They will say, “The truth.” And He is the Most High, the Grand. [34:22-23]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di explained these ayaat by saying:

أي: قل يا أيها الرسول للمشركين بالله غيره من المخلوقات، التي لا تنفع ولا تضر، ملزما لهم بعجزها، ومبينا بطلان عبادتها: ادعوا الذين زعمتم من دون الله أي: زعمتموهم شركاء لله، إن كان دعاؤكم ينفع، فإنهم قد توفرت فيهم أسباب العجز، وعدم إجابة الدعاء من كل وجه، فإنهم ليس لهم أدنى ملك فلا يملكون مثقال ذرة في السماوات والأرض على وجه الاستقلال، ولا على [ ص: 1415 ] وجه الاشتراك، ولهذا قال: وما لهم أي: لتلك الآلهة الذين زعمتم فيهما أي: في السماوات والأرض، من شرك أي: لا شرك قليل ولا كثير، فليس لهم ملك، ولا شركة ملك. ـ

Meaning:

قُلِ

Say …

O Messenger, address those who hold that some of the created beings who can neither bring about benefit nor harm are partners with Allah. Tell them this message which clearly and plainly demonstrates the complete lack of power of these things and the futility of worshiping them.

ادْعُوا الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّـهِ

… “Invoke those you claim as deities besides Allah.”

meaning: those who you claim to be partners with Allah, if your supplications to them will bring about any benefit. For these “partners” are completely devoid of any power and cannot respond to your supplications in any way. That is because they do not possess even the smallest portion of control over anything, for they do not have ownership of even a speck of dust in the heavens or the earth that they could say is exclusively theirs nor that they could claim to even share ownership over. That is why Allah said: Continue reading

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The Qur’anic Methods of Calling People to Tawheed: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

In one of Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan‘s written works in the field of ‘aqeedah, the sheikh devoted a section to listing a number of methods that Allah uses throughout the Qur’an to invite people to worship Him alone. He mentions a total of eleven different methods, providing examples for each type:

أساليب القرآن في الدعوة إلى توحيد الإلهية
The Methods Used in the Qur’an to Call People to the Sole Worship of Allah

لما كان توحيد الربوبية قد أقر به الناس بموجب فطرهم ونظرهم في الكون، وكان الإقرار به وحده لا يكفي للإيمان بالله ولا ينجي صاحبه من العذاب، ركزت دعوات الرسل على توحيد الإلهية، خصوصا دعوة خاتم الرسل نبينا محمد عليه وعليهم أفضل السلام، فكان يطالب الناس بقول‏:‏ لا إله إلا الله، المتضمنة لعبادة الله، وترك عبادة ما سواه، فكانوا ينفرون منه ويقولون‏:‏ ‏{‏أَجَعَلَ الْآلِهَةَ إِلَهًا وَاحِدًا إِنَّ هَذَا لَشَيْءٌ عُجَابٌ‏}‏ ‏.‏ ـ

Since al-Tawheed al-Rububiyyah – Allah’s exclusive role as Lord of all creation – is something which people accept, as is necessitated by their innate disposition towards it and their observation of this universe, and because the mere acceptance of it is not equivalent to eemaan in Allah nor does it alone save anyone from eternal punishment, then the calls of the messengers were centered around and concentrated on al-Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah – Allah’s exclusive right to be worshiped by His created beings. This was all the more emphasized in the call of the seal of the messengers, our Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), for he sought for the people to profess Laa ilaaha illallaah – there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah -, a phrase that entails worshiping Allah and leaving off the worship of anything besides Him. But the people were averse to this, saying

‏أَجَعَلَ الْآلِهَةَ إِلَهًا وَاحِدًا إِنَّ هَذَا لَشَيْءٌ عُجَابٌ‏

Has he made the gods all into one God? Indeed, this is something astounding! [38:5]

وحاولوا مع الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم أن يترك هذه الدعوة ويخلي بينهم وبين عبادة الأصنام، وبذلوا في ذلك معه كل الوسائل؛ بالترغيب تارة وبالترهيب تارة، وهو عليه الصلاة والسلام يقول‏:‏ ‏”‏والله، لو وضعوا الشمس بيميني، والقمر بشمالي، على أن أترك هذا الأمر؛ لا أتركه حتى يظهره الله أو أهلك دونه‏”‏‏.‏ ـ

The people made every effort to make the Messenger give up this call and leave them to worship their idols. They took every means at their disposal to reach this end, sometimes offering enticements and other times with threats and intimidation. But the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I swear by Allah, if they were to place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left on the condition that I abandon this cause, I would not leave it until Allah grants it victory or I perish therein.”

وكانت آيات الله تتنزل عليه بالدعوة إلى هذا التوحيد، والرد على شبهات المشركين، وإقامة البراهين على بطلان ما هم عليه‏.‏ ـ

Allah’s verses would be sent to him in order to call the people of al-Tawheed, to rebut the doubts of the mushrikoon, and to firmly establish proofs of the futility and falsehood of what they were following.

وقد تنوعت أساليب القرآن في الدعوة إلى توحيد الإلهية، وها نحن نذكر جملة منها؛ فمن ذلك‏:‏ ـ

The Qur’an uses a variety of methods to call people to al-Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah – Allah’s exclusive right to be worshiped – and here we will mention a number of them. These methods include:

Continue reading

Only the Creator is Deserving of Worship: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee brought the following discussion in his tafsir of surah al-Ra’d:

قوله تعالى : أم جعلوا لله شركاء خلقوا كخلقه فتشابه الخلق عليهم قل الله خالق كل شيء وهو الواحد القهار . ـ

Allah’s statement:

أَمْ جَعَلُوا لِلَّـهِ شُرَ‌كَاءَ خَلَقُوا كَخَلْقِهِ فَتَشَابَهَ الْخَلْقُ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ قُلِ اللَّـهُ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ‌

Or do they assign partners to Allah who create like His creation, and so the creation appears similar to them? Say, “Allah is the Creator of everything; and He is the One, the All-Mighty” [13:16]

أشار تعالى في هذه الآية الكريمة إلى أنه هو المستحق لأن يعبد وحده ; لأنه هو الخالق ولا يستحق من الخلق أن يعبدوه إلا من خلقهم وأبرزهم من العدم إلى الوجود ; لأن المقصود من قوله : أم جعلوا لله شركاء خلقوا كخلقه فتشابه الخلق عليهم [ 13 \ 16 ] إنكار ذلك وأنه هو الخالق وحده بدليل قوله بعده : قل الله خالق كل شيء [ 13 \ 16 ] أي : وخالق كل شيء هو المستحق لأن يعبد وحده ، ويبين هذا المعنى في آيات كثيرة ، كقوله : ياأيها الناس اعبدوا ربكم الذي خلقكم الآية [ 2 \ 21 ] ، وقوله : واتخذوا من دونه آلهة لا يخلقون شيئا وهم يخلقون [ 25 \ 3 ] ، وقوله : أيشركون ما لا يخلق شيئا وهم يخلقون [ 7 \ 191 ] ، وقوله : هذا خلق الله فأروني ماذا خلق الذين من دونه [ 31 \ 11 ] إلى غير ذلك من الآيات ; لأن المخلوق محتاج إلى خالقه فهو عبد مربوب مثلك يجب عليه أن يعبد من خلقه وحده ، كما يجب عليك ذلك ، فأنتما سواء بالنسبة إلى وجوب عبادة الخالق وحده لا شريك له . ـ

In this noble ayah, Allah mentions that He is the only one entitled to be worshiped, for He is the Creator. And there is not anyone or anything which deserves to be worshiped by the creation except for the one who created them and brought them into existence out of nothingness. For the purpose of His statement: Continue reading

Three Categories of Love: Imam al-Sa’di

In part of his explanation of the famous Kitaab al-Tawheed of Sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di wrote:

أصل التوحيد وروحه: إخلاص المحبة لله وحده وهي أصل التأله والتعبد له، بل هي حقيقة العبادة، ولا يتم التوحيد حتى تكمل محبة العبد لربه، وتسبق محبته جميع المحاب وتغلبها، ويكون لها الحكم عليها بحيث تكون سائر محاب العبد تبعا لهذه المحبة التي بها سعادة العبد وفلاحه. ـ

The foundation of tawheed and its very essence is this: sincere love for Allah alone, and this is the foundation of deifying Him and worshiping Him; rather it is the reality of worship and tawheed is not completed until the slave’s love for his Lord is perfected and it supersedes and prevails over one’s love for all other beloved things, and that that love becomes the measuring scale over them to the extent that all of the slave’s other inclinations follow in accord with this love. It is through this that the slave attains ultimate joy and success.

ومن تفريعها وتكميلها الحب في الله، فيحب العبد ما يحبه الله من الأعمال والأشخاص، ويبغض ما يبغضه الله من الأشخاص والأعمال، ويوالي أولياءه ويعادي أعداءه، وبذلك يكمل إيمان العبد وتوحيده. ـ

And part of its branches and completeness is love for the sake of Allah. So the slave loves those actions and personalities which Allah loves, and he hates the persons and actions which Allah hates, and he aligns himself with Allah’s allies and shows enmity to Allah’s enemies. Through this is the slave’s eemaan and tawheed perfected. Continue reading

“Do not insult those they invoke other than Allah”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in surah al-An’aam:

وَلَا تَسُبُّوا الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ فَيَسُبُّوا اللَّـهَ عَدْوًا بِغَيْرِ‌ عِلْمٍ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ زَيَّنَّا لِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ عَمَلَهُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَ‌بِّهِم مَّرْ‌جِعُهُمْ فَيُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do. [6:108]

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

ينهى الله المؤمنين عن أمر كان جائزا، بل مشروعا في الأصل، وهو سب آلهة المشركين، التي اتخذت أوثانا وآلهة مع الله، التي يتقرب إلى الله بإهانتها وسبها. ـ

Here, Allah is prohibiting the believers from something which is permissible – in fact, at its basis it is legislated – and that thing is insulting the polytheists’ objects of worship; those which are taken as idols and objects of worship alongside Allah, and those which the believers insult and hold in contempt thereby seeking nearness to Allah. Continue reading

Why Speaking about Allah without Knowledge is more serious than Shrik: Ibn ‘Uthaymeen

Allah says in surah al-A’raaf:

قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالْإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَن تُشْرِكُوا بِاللَّـهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَن تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّـهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

Say, “My Lord has only forbidden immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed -, and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.” [7:33]

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen mentioned the following point of benefit during part of his discussion of this ayah in his primer on the sciences of tafsir:

مسألة : وهل هذه الآية من باب الترقي ، أو من باب ذكر الأعلى فالأعلى ؟ ـ

An issue: Is this ayah one of those whose ordering ascends from least to greatest in its listing, or is it one of those that starts with the highest matter and then moves down to the next highest?

الجواب : الأول ، يعني : أن أشد شيء أن يقول على الله ما لا يعلم . ـ

Answer: It is the first category, meaning that the most grave thing is to speak about Allah without knowledge.

فإن قال قائل : كيف يكون هذه أشد من الشرك ؟ ـ

But then someone might ask: How is that a worse offense than al-shirk? Continue reading

Does the term “al-Mushrikoon” include the Ahl al-Kitaab? – Imam al-Shinqitee

During a lesson that sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee once gave in Jordan, he was asked a series of three questions from one of the students of knowledge present. The second of these questions was:

هل يشمل لفظ المشركين أهل الكتاب؟

Does the term “al-Mushrikoon” include the Ahl al-Kitaab?

In response to this question, the sheikh answered:

وأما الجواب عن المسالة الثانية , فهو أن ما ذكرتم من أن القرآن فرق بين المشركين وبين أهل الكتاب , واستشهدتم لذلك بآية المائدة لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِلَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَبَهُمْ مَوَدَّةً لِلَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَى (82) الآية ، فهو كما ذكرتم, لأن العطف يقتضي بظاهره الفرق بين المعطوف والمعطوف عليه. ـ

As for the answer to the second question, then it is regarding what some have mentioned that the Qur’an makes a distinction between the Mushrikoon and the Ahl al-Kitaab, and as evidence they cite the ayah of surah al-Maa’idah:

لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَ‌كُوا ۖ وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَ‌بَهُم مَّوَدَّةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَ‌ىٰ

You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews and those who associate others with Allah; and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, “We are Christians.” [5:82]

And it is as they say, because mentioning two items of the same part-of-speech category together [i.e. “the Jews” and “those who associate others with Allah”] entails that there is some distinction between the two when taken at its apparent linguistic meaning. Continue reading

Oaths are a magnification of the Creator: Imam al-Sa’di

In one section of his explanation of sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab’s famous Kitaab al-Tawheed, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote the following regarding oaths:

أصل اليمين إنما شرعت تأكيدا للأمر المحلوف عليه، وتعظيما للخالق، ولهذا وحب أن لا يحلف إلا لله، وكان الحلف بغيره من الشرك. ـ

The basis of oaths is that they were legislated as an affirmation of an issue which is being sworn to and as a magnification of the Creator. So for that reason, it is incumbent that one does not swear by anything but Allah, and swearing by other than Him is from shirk.

ومن تمام هذا التعظيم أن لا يحلف بالله إلا صادقا. ومن تمام هذا التعظيم أن يحترم اسمه العظيم عن كثرة الحلف ، فالكذب وكثرة الحلف تنافي التعظيم الذي هو روح التوحيد. ـ

And from the completion of this magnification is that one does not swear by Allah in any other way than truthfully. And from the completion of this magnification is that one venerates His magnificent name by not being prolific in swearing. For lying and a proliferation of swearing negates the magnification which is the essence of al-tawheed. 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

Major Shirk and Minor Shirk: Imam al-Sa’di

In his concise explanation of the famous Kitaab al-Tawheed of Sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab, Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di brings the following definitions of major and minor shirk:

 الشرك في توحيد الإلهية والعبادة ينافي التوحيد كل المنافاة وهو نوعان: شرك أكبر جلي، وشرك أصغر خفي. ـ

al-Shirk in regards to al-Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah – which is also known as [al-Tawheed] al-‘Ibaadah – contradicts al-tawheed in every way, and it is made up of two categories: 1) open shirk al-akbar (major shirk), and 2) concealed shirk al-ashgar (minor shirk).

فأما الشرك الأكبر: فهو أن يجعل لله ندا يدعوه كما يدعو الله أو يخافه أو يرجوه أو يحبه كحب الله، أو يصرف له نوعا من أنواع العبادة، فهذا الشرك لا يبقى مع صاحبه من التوحيد شيء، وهذا المشرك الذي حرم الله عليه الجنة ومأواه النار. ولا فرق في هذا بين أن يسمي تلك العبادة التي صرفها لغير الله عبادة، أو يسميها توسلا، أو يسميها بغير ذلك من الأسماء فكل ذلك شرك أكبر، لأن العبرة بحقائق الأشياء ومعانيها دون ألفاظها وعباراتها. ـ

So as for al-shirk al-akbar (major shirk), it is that one takes an equal with Allah and supplicates to it just as one would supplicate to Allah or he fears it or he places his hope in it or he loves it as one would love Allah, or he diverts some form of worship to it. So this shirk does not leave anything of al-tawheed remaining with the one who commits it, and he is a mushrik for whom Allah has forbidden al-Jannah and his final abode is the Hell-fire. And there is no distinction as to whether this worship which is diverted to other than Allah is called ‘ibaadah (worship), or if it is called tawassul (intermediation), or if it is called by some other name, for all of that is shirk al-akbar, because the final consideration is according to the reality of a thing and its meaning rather than its wording and terminology. Continue reading