A Parable of Two Slaves: Ibn al-Qayyim

Allah strikes the following parable in surah al-Zumar:

ضَرَبَ اللَّـهُ مَثَلًا رَّجُلًا فِيهِ شُرَكَاءُ مُتَشَاكِسُونَ وَرَجُلًا سَلَمًا لِّرَجُلٍ هَلْ يَسْتَوِيَانِ مَثَلًا ۚ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ ۚ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

Allah presents an example of one man owned by quarreling partners and another man belonging exclusively to a single man – are they equal in comparison? Praise be to Allah! But most of them do not know. [39:29]

The great scholar Ibn al-Qayyim commented on this ayah by writing:

هذا مثل ضربه الله سبحانه للمشرك والموحد فالمشرك بمنزلة عبد يملكه جماعة متنازعون مختلفون متشاحون والرجل المتشاكس الضيق الخلق فالمشرك لما كان يعبد آلهة شتى شبه بعبد يملكه جماعة متنافسون في خدمته لا يمكنه أن يبلغ رضاهم أجمعين . ـ

Allah has made this parable about one person who associates others with Allah and another person who singles Him out for worship. The one who associates partners with Allah is like a slave owned by a group of clashing, conflicting, and quarreling people. The word mutashaakis used in this ayah means one who has stiff and inflexible character. Similarly, when a person tries to worship multiple deities, he is like a slave owned by a group of people all competing with one another for his service, thus preventing him from being able to please them.

والموحد لما كان يعبد الله وحده فمثله كمثل عبد لرجل واحد قد سلم له وعلم مقاصده وعرف الطريق إلى رضاه فهو في راحة من تشاحن الخلطاء فيه بل هو سالم لمالكه من غير تنازع فيه مع رأفة مالكه به ورحمته له وشفقته عليه وإحسانه إليه وتوليه لمصالحه فهل يستوي هذان العبدان . ـ

On the other hand, when a person worships Allah exclusively, then he is like a slave with a single master. Such a person is completely at the service of his master and knows what his master wants and how to please Him. He is free from any joint-owners quarreling over him and is instead entirely in the service of his owner without any others clashing over him. At the same time, he enjoys the care, mercy, kindness, and goodness that his owner has towards him, and the fact that his owner considers his best interests. Continue reading

Allah Presents a Parable From Your Own Selves: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah presents the following parable in surah al-Rum:

ضَرَبَ لَكُم مَّثَلًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ ۖ هَل لَّكُم مِّن مَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُم مِّن شُرَكَاءَ فِي مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ فَأَنتُمْ فِيهِ سَوَاءٌ تَخَافُونَهُمْ كَخِيفَتِكُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ

He sets forth a parable for you from your own selves: Do you have any of your slaves as partners with you to share as equals in the wealth We have bestowed on you, fearing them as you fear one another? Thus do We explain the signs in detail to people who have sense. [30:28]

al-Haafidh ibn Kathir began his commentary on this ayah by writing:

هذا مثل ضربه الله تعالى للمشركين به ، العابدين معه غيره ، الجاعلين له شركاء وهم مع ذلك معترفون أن شركاءه من الأصنام والأنداد عبيد له ، ملك له ، كما كانوا في تلبيتهم يقولون : لبيك لا شريك لك ، إلا شريكا هو لك ، تملكه وما ملك . فقال تعالى : ( ضرب لكم مثلا من أنفسكم ) أي : تشهدونه وتفهمونه من أنفسكم ، ( هل لكم من ما ملكت أيمانكم من شركاء في ما رزقناكم فأنتم فيه سواء ) أي : لا يرتضي أحد منكم أن يكون عبده شريكا له في ماله ، فهو وهو فيه على السواء ( تخافونهم كخيفتكم أنفسكم ) أي : تخافون أن يقاسموكم الأموال . والمعنى : أن أحدكم يأنف من ذلك ، فكيف تجعلون لله الأنداد من خلقه ؟! تعالى الله عن ذلك علوا كبيرا . ـ

This is a parable which Allah strikes regarding those who take others as equals with Him, worship them alongside Him, and assign partners to Him. They do all this despite knowing full-well that these idols and peers that they consider as partners with Him are in fact His slaves whom He owns. Take for instance the talbiyah that they used to say:

At your service, and there is no partner for You
Except for the partner that You do have
You own him and whatever he owns

So Allah said: Continue reading

A Warning to the Family of Fir’awn: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh

The following points of benefit were taken from the social media pages of sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh:

قال تعالى:”ولقد جاء ءال فرعون النذر” والآل ترجع إلى من تبع الرجل في دينه، وآل فرعون من كان على ملة فرعون وعلى دينه.ـ

Allah said:

وَلَقَدْ جَاءَ آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ النُّذُرُ

And a warning certainly came to the Aal Fir’awn [54:41]

and word aal [literally “family/relatives”] refers to whoever follows a person in terms of his religion. So the Aal Fir’awn are whoever was upon the religion and way of life of Fir’awn.

قال تعالى:”ولقد جاء ءال فرعون النذر” لم يذكر البشارة لأنَّ القوم ما هم عليه من الشرك والكفر يستلزم الإنذار والتخويف.ـ

Allah said: Continue reading

The Meaning of Taghoot: Sheikh al-Fawzan

The following question was posed to sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan:

نص السؤال : ما معنى الطاغوت‏؟‏ وهل كل طاغوت كافر‏؟ ـ

Question: What is the meaning of “Taghoot“, and is every taghoot a disbeliever?

‏نص الإجابة : الطاغوت في اللغة مشتق من الطغيان وهو مجاوزة الحد ومجاوزة الحق إلى الباطل ومجاوزة الإيمان إلى الكفر وما أشبه ذلك والطواغيت كثيرون وكل طاغوت فهو كافر بلا شك‏‏  ـ

Response: Linguistically, the word “al-taghoot” comes from “al-tughyaan” which is overstepping the limits, crossing over from truth into falsehood, stepping out of eemaan into disbelief, and so on. There are many taghoots, and every taghoot is a disbeliever. There is no doubt about this.

والطواغيت كثيرون ولكن رءوسهم خمسة كما ذكر ذلك العلامة ابن القيم وغيره‏‏ الأول‏‏ إبليس – لعنة الله – فإنه رأس الطواغيت وهو الذي يدعو إلى الضلال والكفر والإلحاد ويدعو إلى النار فهو رأس الطواغيت‏‏

There are many taghoots but five of them are the main ones, as has been stated by the great scholar ibn al-Qayyim and others.

The first is Iblees, may Allah curse him. He is the head of all the taghoots, and he is the one who calls to misguidance, disbelief, and atheism, and to the hellfire. So he is the head of the taghoots.

والثاني‏‏ من عبد من دون الله وهو راضٍ بذلك فإن من رضي أن يعبده الناس من دون الله فإنه يكون طاغوتًا كما قال تعالى‏‏ ‏( ‏وَجَعَلَ مِنْهُمُ الْقِرَدَةَ وَالْخَنَازِيرَ وَعَبَدَ الطَّاغُوتَ ) ‏[‏المائدة : 60‏]‏ فالذي يعبد من دون الله وهو راضٍ بذلك طاغوت أما إذا لم يرض بذلك فليس كذلك‏‏

The second is anyone who is worshiped besides Allah while being pleased with that worship, for whoever is pleased with people worshiping him alongside Allah is a taghoot. This is as Allah said Continue reading

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

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