Performing the Prayers in their Proper Times: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in surah al-Baqarah:

حَافِظُوا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَالصَّلَاةِ الْوُسْطَىٰ وَقُومُوا لِلَّـهِ قَانِتِينَ * فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ فَرِ‌جَالًا أَوْ رُ‌كْبَانًا ۖ فَإِذَا أَمِنتُمْ فَاذْكُرُ‌وا اللَّـهَ كَمَا عَلَّمَكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ

Maintain with care the [obligatory] prayers and [in particular] the middle prayer and stand before Allah, devoutly obedient. * And if you fear [an enemy, then pray] on foot or riding. But when you are secure, then remember Allah, as He has taught you that which you did not [previously] know. [2:238-239]

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

يأمر بالمحافظة على الصلوات عمومًا وعلى الصلاة الوسطى، وهي العصر خصوصًا، والمحافظة عليها أداؤها بوقتها وشروطها وأركانها وخشوعها وجميع ما لها من واجب ومستحب، وبالمحافظة على الصلوات تحصل المحافظة على سائر العبادات، وتفيد النهي عن الفحشاء والمنكر خصوصًا إذا أكملها كما أمر بقوله { وَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ قَانِتِينَ } أي: ذليلين خاشعين، ففيه الأمر بالقيام والقنوت والنهي عن الكلام، والأمر بالخشوع، هذا مع الأمن والطمأنينة. ـ

Allah commanded the careful maintaining of the prayers in general, and of the middle prayer – which is ‘Asr – specifically. And carefully maintaining them is performing them in their proper times and with their conditions and pillars, and with khushoo’, and with all that which is obligatory and recommended for them. And carefully maintaining the prayers carried the meaning of carefully maintaining all the rest of the acts of worship. And it benefits one by preventing against indecency and immorality, especially when the prayers are done in a complete way as Allah commanded with His statement, “and stand before Allah, devoutly obedient” – meaning, humble and submitting. So in that there is the command to stand and to be devoutly obedient and the prohibition of speaking, and the command to have khushoo’, and this is in the condition of safety and tranquility. Continue reading

The command to treat parents with ihsaan: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah says in surah al-Israa’:

وَقَضَىٰ رَ‌بُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۚ إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ الْكِبَرَ‌ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْ‌هُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِ‌يمًا

And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. [17:23]

Commenting on this ayah, Imam al-Shinqitee wrote the following:

قوله تعالى : وَقَضَى رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا

Allah’s statement, “And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment“.

 أمر جل وعلا في هذه الآية الكريمة بإخلاص العبادة له وحده ، وقرن بذلك الأمر بالإحسان إلى الوالدين . ـ

In this noble ayah, He commanded them with sincerity of worship towards Him alone. And He paired that with the command to have excellent treatments towards parents.

وجعله بر الوالدين مقرونا بعبادته وحده جل وعلا المذكور هنا ذكره في آيات أخر ; كقوله في سورة ” النساء ” : واعبدوا الله ولا تشركوا به شيئا وبالوالدين إحسانا الآية [ 4 \ 36 ] ، وقوله في البقرة : وإذ أخذنا ميثاق بني إسرائيل لا تعبدون إلا الله وبالوالدين إحسانا الآية [ 2 \ 83 ] ، وقوله في سورة لقمان : أن اشكر لي ولوالديك إلي المصير [ 31 \ 14 ] ، ـ

He made mention of Birr al-Waalidayn (good treatment towards parents) paired with worshiping Him alone both here and in other ayaat, such as His statement in surah al-Nisaa’, Continue reading

A sin may be beneficial for a person: Ibn al-Qayyim

The great scholar Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) wrote:

إن الذنب قد يكون أنفع للعبد إذا اقترنت به التوبة من كثير من الطاعات ، وهذا معنى قول بعض السلف : قد يعمل العبد الذنب فيدخل به الجنة ويعمل الطاعة فيدخل بها النار ، قالوا : وكيف ذلك قال : يعمل الذنب فلا يزال نصب عينيه إن قام وإن قعد وإن مشى ذكر ذنبه فيُحدِثُ له انكساراً وتوبةً واستغفارا وندما فيكون ذلك سبب نجاته ، ويعمل الحسنة فلا تزال نصب عينيه إن قام وإن قعد وإن مشى كلما ذكرها أورثته عجباً وكبرا ومنة فتكون سبب هلاكه

Sin may be more beneficial for a person – if it leads him to repent – than engaging in many acts of obedience. This is the meaning of the statement of one of the salaf,

“‘A person may commit a sin and enter Paradise because of it, or he may do an act of worship and enter Hell because of it.’ They said, ‘How is that?’ He replied, ‘He may commit a sin and then it remains at the forefront of his thoughts, and when he stands or sits or walks he remembers his sin. So then there comes about shame, repentance, seeking forgiveness and regret, so that that will be the means of his salvation. And [on the other hand] one may perform a good deed and it remains at the forefront of his thoughts, so when he stands or sits or walks he always remembers it and it results in him being amazed [with himself] and prideful. So that will be from the cause of his doom.'”

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“Remind them of the Days of Allah”: Tafsir al-Shawkaani

Allah says in surah Ibrahim:

وَلَقَدْ أَرْ‌سَلْنَا مُوسَىٰ بِآيَاتِنَا أَنْ أَخْرِ‌جْ قَوْمَكَ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ‌ وَذَكِّرْ‌هُم بِأَيَّامِ اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ‌ شَكُورٍ

And We certainly sent Moosaa with Our signs, [saying], “Bring out your people from darknesses into the light and remind them of the days of Allah.” Indeed in that are signs for everyone patient and grateful. [14:5]
Commenting on this, Imam al-Shawkaani wrote:
وذكرهم بأيام الله أي بوقائعه . ـ
‘And remind them of the days of Allah’ – meaning His events.
 –
قال ابن السكيت : العرب تقول الأيام في معنى الوقائع ، يقال فلان عالم بأيام العرب ، أي : بوقائعها . ـ
ibn al-Sakeet said:The Arabs says ‘days’ with the meaning of ‘events/happenings’.  One might say, ‘So-and-so is very knowledgeable of the days of the Arabs’ – meaning: of their happenings.
 –
وقال الزجاج ، أي : ذكرهم بنعم الله عليهم وبنقم أيام الله التي انتقم فيها من قوم نوح وعاد وثمود . ـ
And al-Zujaaj said: it means ‘remind them of the blessings of Allah upon them and of the punishment of the days of Allah which He inflicted upon the people of Nuh, ‘Aad and Thamood. Continue reading

The Fiqh of Oaths – Imam al-Sa’di

Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di dedicated a chapter of his book of thematic tafsir to the subject of oaths, in which he first brought these ayaat and then explained them and their related issues as follows:

فصل في الأيمان ونحوها
Chapter on Oaths and related matters

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُحَرِّ‌مُوا طَيِّبَاتِ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ * وَكُلُوا مِمَّا رَ‌زَقَكُمُ اللَّـهُ حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ الَّذِي أَنتُم بِهِ مُؤْمِنُونَ * لَا يُؤَاخِذُكُمُ اللَّـهُ بِاللَّغْوِ فِي أَيْمَانِكُمْ وَلَـٰكِن يُؤَاخِذُكُم بِمَا عَقَّدتُّمُ الْأَيْمَانَ ۖ فَكَفَّارَ‌تُهُ إِطْعَامُ عَشَرَ‌ةِ مَسَاكِينَ مِنْ أَوْسَطِ مَا تُطْعِمُونَ أَهْلِيكُمْ أَوْ كِسْوَتُهُمْ أَوْ تَحْرِ‌يرُ‌ رَ‌قَبَةٍ ۖ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلَاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ كَفَّارَ‌ةُ أَيْمَانِكُمْ إِذَا حَلَفْتُمْ ۚ وَاحْفَظُوا أَيْمَانَكُمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُ‌ونَ

O you who have believed, do not prohibit the good things which Allah has made lawful to you and do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors. * And eat of what Allah has provided for you [which is] halaal (lawful) and tayyib (good). And have taqwa of Allah, in whom you are believers. * Allah will not impose blame upon you for what is meaningless in your oaths, but He will impose blame upon you for [breaking] what you intended of oaths. So its expiation is the feeding of ten needy people from the average of that which you feed your [own] families or clothing them or the freeing of a slave. But whoever cannot find [or afford it] – then a fast of three days [is required]. That is the expiation for oaths when you have sworn. But protect your oaths. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be grateful. [5:87-89]

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“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

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

In surah al-Baqarah, after Allah revealed the command of changing the Qibla and dedicating a number of ayaat from the first part of the second Juz’ [2:142-150], He then moves on to mention:

كَمَا أَرْ‌سَلْنَا فِيكُمْ رَ‌سُولًا مِّنكُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ * فَاذْكُرُ‌ونِي أَذْكُرْ‌كُمْ وَاشْكُرُ‌وا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُ‌ونِ

Just as We have sent among you a messenger from yourselves reciting to you Our ayaat and purifying you and teaching you the Book and wisdom and teaching you that which you did not know. * So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me. [2:151-152]
Commenting on these ayaat, Imam al-Sa’di writes:
يقول تعالى‏:‏ إن إنعامنا عليكم باستقبال الكعبة وإتمامها بالشرائع والنعم المتممة‏,‏ ليس ذلك ببدع من إحساننا‏,‏ ولا بأوله‏,‏ بل أنعمنا عليكم بأصول النعم ومتمماتها‏,‏ فأبلغها إرسالنا إليكم هذا الرسول الكريم منكم‏,‏ تعرفون نسبه وصدقه‏,‏ وأمانته وكماله ونصحه‏.‏
ـ
Allah is saying: Verily, We have blessed you with facing the Ka’bah and completing the Divine legislation and other supplemental blessings. That is nothing new of Our Ihsaan, nor is that the beginning of it – rather, We have blessed you with the fundamental blessings and supplementary ones, for I have done this by sending this noble messenger to you from among you, so that you may recognize his lineage and his truthfulness, and his trustworthiness, excellence and sincerity. Continue reading

When I am afflicted with a calamity, I praise Allah four times

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali reports that some of the salaf used to say:

قال بعض السلف : إني لأصاب  بالمصيبة فأحمد الله عليها أربع مرات : أحمد الله إذ لم تكن أعظم مما هي ، وأحمد الله إذ رزقني الصبر عليها ، وأحمده إذ وفقني الاسترجاع ، وأحمده إذ لم يجعلها في ديني

When I am afflicted with a calamity, I praise Allah four times: I praise Allah for it not being worse than it is, I praise Allah that He provided me with the ability to bear it patiently, and I praise Him for granting me the accord to say, ‘Verily to Allah do we belong and to Him do we return’, and I praise Him for not making the tribulation in my religion.

[Majmoo’ al-Rasaa’il Ibn Rajab vol. 3 p. 155]

See also: “Indeed to Allah we belong, and to Him we will return”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Whoever believes in Allah, He will guide his heart in times of trial: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

The gratitude of a slave is better than the blessings of this world: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali wrote the following in part of his great work Jaami’ al-‘Uloom w’al-Hikam, a detailed a thorough commentary on Imam al-Nawawi’s Forty Hadeeth:

وقال أبو بكر بن عبدالله ما قال عبد قط الحمد لله مرة إلا وجبت عليه نعمة بقوله الحمد لله فما جزى تلك النعمة جزاءها أن يقول الحمد لله فجاءت نعمة أخرى فلا تنفد نعماء الله

Abu Bakr ibn ‘Abdullah said, “A slave never says al-Hamdulillaah one time except that he must receive a blessing for his saying al-hamdulillaah.” So what is the proper response to that blessing? Its response is to say al-hamdulillaah, and so there will come another blessing, and so the blessings of Allah never cease.

وقد روى ابن ماجه من حديث أنس رضي الله عنه مرفوعًا إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ما أنعم الله على عبد نعمة فقال الحمد لله إلا كان الذي أعطى أفضل مما أخذ وروينا نحوه من حديث شهر بن حوشب عن أسماء بنت يزيد مرفوعًا أيضًا وروي هذا عن الحسن البصري من قوله

And Ibn Maajah has narrated the marfoo’ hadeeth of Anas (raadi Allaahu ‘anhu), “Allah never bestows a blessing upon a slave and he then the slave says ‘al-hamdulillaah‘ except that Allah gives him something better than that which he takes.” And we have also narrated the likes of that from the marfoo’ hadeeth of Shahr ibn Hawshab from Asmaa’ bint Yazeed. And this is narrated from Hasan al-Basri from his own statement. 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