The False Qiyaas of Iblis: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In the beginning of surah al-A’raaf, Allah mentions the well-known story of Iblis refusing to obey Allah’s command to bow towards Adam. After the initial refusal, Allah informs us of the following dialogue:

قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلَّا تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْتُكَ ۖ قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَّارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ

Allah said, “What prevented you from prostrating after I had commanded you?” Iblis said, “I am better than him; You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.” (7:12)

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di mentioned the following points of benefit under his tafsir of this ayah:

فوبخه اللّه على ذلك وقال: { مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلَّا تَسْجُدَ } لما خلقت بيديَّ، أي: شرفته وفضلته بهذه الفضيلة، التي لم تكن لغيره، فعصيت أمري وتهاونت بي؟ ـ

Allah reprimanded Iblis for this behavior and said:

مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلَّا تَسْجُدَ

What prevented you from prostrating

to that which I created which My own hands? Meaning, I have honored and favored him with this honor which was not done for any other, but you disobey My command and treat it so flippantly?

ـ { قَالَ } إبليس معارضا لربه: { أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْهُ } ثم برهن على هذه الدعوى الباطلة بقوله: { خَلَقْتَنِي مِنْ نَارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِنْ طِينٍ } وموجب هذا أن المخلوق من نار أفضل من المخلوق من طين لعلو النار على الطين وصعودها، وهذا القياس من أفسد الأقيسة، فإنه باطل من عدة أوجه . ـ

قَالَ

Iblis said

in response to his Lord Continue reading

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Six Categories of Wrong-Doings: Sheikh al-Raajihi

In surah al-A’raaf, Allah mentioned:

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 ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Raajihi mentioned the following points of benefit regarding this ayah by saying:

قال بعض العلماء على آية :   قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالْإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَنْ تُشْرِكُوا بِاللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَنْ تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ . الآية عطف بعضها على بعض ، وإن كان المعطوف داخلا في المعطوف عليه ، فبعضها داخل في بعض ، إذ الإثم والبغي والشرك داخل في الفواحش وعمومها ؛ لأن مظالم العباد بعضهم مع بعض والاعتداء عليهم يكون في ستة أشياء في البدن وفي النسب وفي الدين وفي العرض وفي العقل وفي المال ، فالاعتداء على الإنسان يكون :  في البدن .  وفي النسب .  وفي الدين .  وفي العرض . – وفي العقل .  ـ

Regarding the ayah:

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]

some of the scholars have said that this ayah has some overlap in its categories with some overlapping others and that some categories in this listing could fall under other categories, and so some of them are included in others. For sin, oppression, and al-shirk all fall under the category of immoralities and its general encompassing nature. This is all because the wrong-doings and transgressions which human beings perpetrate against one another occur in relation to six things: physical well-being, lineage, religion, honor, intellect, or wealth. So the transgressions against people can be distilled down to: Continue reading

Did Fir’awn claim divinity, or worship other gods?: al-Shawkaani, al-Qurtubi, & al-Baghawi

In surah al-A’raaf, Allah says:

وَقَالَ الْمَلَأُ مِن قَوْمِ فِرْعَوْنَ أَتَذَرُ مُوسَىٰ وَقَوْمَهُ لِيُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَيَذَرَكَ وَآلِهَتَكَ ۚ قَالَ سَنُقَتِّلُ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَنَسْتَحْيِي نِسَاءَهُمْ وَإِنَّا فَوْقَهُمْ قَاهِرُونَ

The chiefs of Fir’awn’s people said: “Will you leave Moosaa and his people to spread mischief in the land, and to abandon you and your gods?” He said: “We will kill their sons, and let live their women, and we have indeed irresistible power over them.” [7:127]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Shawkaani briefly mentioned a question that arises from a careful reading of this ayah in his tafsir where he wrote:

واختلف المفسرون في معنى وآلهتك لكون فرعون كان يدعي الربوبية كما في قوله: ما علمت لكم من إله غيري، وقوله: أنا ربكم فقيل: معنى وآلهتك: وطاعتك، وقيل: معناه: وعبادتك، ويؤيده قراءة علي وابن عباس، والضحاك “وإلهتك” وفي حرف أبي “أتذر موسى وقومه ليفسدوا في الأرض وقد تركوك أن يعبدوك” وقيل: إنه كان يعبد بقرة، وقيل: كان يعبد النجوم، وقيل: كان له أصنام يعبدها قومه تقربا إليه فنسبت إليه ولهذا قال: أنا ربكم الأعلى. قاله الزجاج، وقيل: كان يعبد الشمس . ـ

The scholars of tafsir have differed regarding the meaning of “your gods” due to the fact that Fir’awn used to claim lordship for himself, such as in his statement:

مَا عَلِمْتُ لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَـٰهٍ غَيْرِي

I know of no other god for you besides me [28:38]

as well as his saying:

أَنَا رَبُّكُمُ

I am your lord… [79:24]

Some said the meaning of “aalihatak” [lit. “your gods”] is: obedience to you. And others said its meaning is: worship of you. This understanding is supported by a variant recitation (qiraa’ah) transmitted from ‘Ali, ibn ‘Abbaas and al-Dhahhaak:

وَإِلَهَتَكَ

wa ilaahatak

… and your divinity …

as well as what comes in the variant dialect (harf) recitation of Ubay:

 أَتَذَرُ مُوسَى وَقَوْمَهُ لِيُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَقَدْ تَرَكُوكَ أَنْ يَعْبُدُوكَ

… Will you leave Moosaa and his people to spread mischief in the land while they have abandoned you and worshiping you? … 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

A Clarification regarding the Questioning on the Day of Judgement: Imam al-Shinqitee

In his book dedicated to clarifying difficult passages of the Qur’an and removing doubts concerning them, Imam Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following in his section on surah al-A’araaf:

قال تعالى : < فَلَنَسْأَلَنَّ الَّذِينَ أُرْ‌سِلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَنَسْأَلَنَّ الْمُرْ‌سَلِينَ > الاية . ـ

Allah said:

فَلَنَسْأَلَنَّ الَّذِينَ أُرْ‌سِلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَنَسْأَلَنَّ الْمُرْ‌سَلِينَ

Then We will surely question those to whom [a message] was sent, and We will surely question the messengers. [7:6]

هذه الآية الكريمة تدل على أن الله يسأل جميع الناس يوم القيامة . ونظيرها قولة تعالى : < وَرَ‌بِّكَ لَنَسْأَلَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ * عَمَّا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ > ، وقوله : < وَقِفُوهُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُم مَّسْئُولُونَ > ، وقوله : < وَيَوْمَ يُنَادِيهِمْ فَيَقُولُ مَاذَا أَجَبْتُمُ الْمُرْ‌سَلِينَ > . ـ

This noble ayah indicates that Allah will question all of mankind on Yawm al-Qiyaamah. And its parallel is Allah’s statement:

فَوَرَ‌بِّكَ لَنَسْأَلَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ * عَمَّا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

So by your Lord, We will surely question them all * About what they used to do. [15:92-93]

And His statement:

وَقِفُوهُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُم مَّسْئُولُونَ

And stop them; indeed, they are to be questioned. [37:24]

And His statement:

وَيَوْمَ يُنَادِيهِمْ فَيَقُولُ مَاذَا أَجَبْتُمُ الْمُرْ‌سَلِينَ

And [mention] the Day He will call them and say, “What did you answer the messengers?” [28:65]

وقد جاءت في آيات أخر تدل على خلاف ذلك  ، كقوله : <  فَيَوْمَئِذٍ لَّا يُسْأَلُ عَن ذَنبِهِ إِنسٌ وَلَا جَانٌّ > ، وكقوله : < وَلَا يُسْأَلُ عَن ذُنُوبِهِمُ الْمُجْرِ‌مُونَ > . ـ

And it has come in other ayaat that which indicates the contrary to that, such as His statement:

فَيَوْمَئِذٍ لَّا يُسْأَلُ عَن ذَنبِهِ إِنسٌ وَلَا جَانٌّ

Then on that Day none will be asked about his sin among men or jinn. [55:39]

And such as His statement:

وَلَا يُسْأَلُ عَن ذُنُوبِهِمُ الْمُجْرِ‌مُونَ

But the criminals, about their sins, will not be asked. [28:78]

والجواب عن هذا من ثلاثة أوجة : ـ

The answer to this comes from three angles: Continue reading

The Fundamentals of the Prohibited Deeds – Khutbah of Imam al-Sa’di

From a collection of more than 400 sermons of Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di:

خطبة في قوله تعالى : < قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّ‌مَ رَ‌بِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ‌ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ …> ـ

Khutbah on Allah’s statement, “Say, ‘My Lord has only forbidden immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed…'”

الحمد لله الذي أمر عباده بكل ما فيه خير لهم وصلاح ، ونهاهم عن جميع المضار والأعمال القباح . ـ

All praise belongs to Allah who commanded His slaves with everything in which there is good and rectitude for them, and prohibited them from all harms and despicable actions.

أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له الكريم الفتّاح . ـ

I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone with no partners, the Noble, the Giver of victory.

أشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله الذي نهى عن كل خبيث وأذن في كل طيب وأباح . ـ

And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger who prohibited every abhorrent thing and permitted every good and allowable thing.

اللهم صلّ وسلّم على محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أولي الرشد والتقى والنجاح . ـ

O Allah! Bestow Your peace and blessings upon Muhammad and upon his family and his companions, the preeminent ones in terms of guidance, reverence of Allah and ultimate salvation.

أمّا بعد : أيها الناس ؛ اتّقوا الله بترك مساخطه ومناهيه ، والقيام بفرائضه ومراضية ، فقد جمع لكم أصول ما حرّم عليكم في آية واحدة ، وهي قولة تعالى : < 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> [الأعراف 33] . ـ

To proceed: O Mankind! Have taqwa of Allah by abandoning what angers Him and his prohibitions, and by enacting what He has obligated and what pleases Him. And He has gathered the fundamentals of what He has made forbidden for you in a single ayah, which is His statement, Continue reading

Understanding the Ayaat al-Sifaat: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

In his tafsir of surah al-‘Aaraaf, Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee brings the following clarification on how to properly understand the ayaat al-sifaat – or the verses of the Qur’an which discuss the attributes and descriptions of Allah. Imam al-Shinqitee begins his explanation of this important matter of ‘aqeedah (creed) by writing:

قوله تعالى : ثم استوى على العرش يغشي الليل النهار الآية . ـ

Allah’s statement:

ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْ‌شِ يُغْشِي اللَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ‌

and He then established Himself above the Throne. He covers the night with the day… [7:54]

هذه الآية الكريمة وأمثالها من آيات الصفات كقوله : يد الله فوق أيديهم [ 48 \ 10 ] ونحو ذلك ; أشكلت على كثير من الناس إشكالا ضل بسببه خلق لا يحصى كثرة ، فصار قوم إلى التعطيل وقوم إلى التشبيه ، سبحانه وتعالى علوا كبيرا عن ذلك كله والله جل وعلا أوضح هذا غاية الإيضاح ، ولم يترك فيه أي لبس ولا إشكال ، وحاصل تحرير ذلك أنه جل وعلا بين أن الحق في آيات الصفات متركب من أمرين : ـ

This noble ayah and those like it from among the ayaat of attributes (sifaat), such as His statement:

يَدُ اللَّـهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيهِمْ

The hand of Allah is over their hands [48:10]

and the likes of that – these are a difficult ambiguity for many people, thereby misguiding so many of the creation that their great numbers cannot be enumerated. So some people therefore went to committing al-Ta’teel [rejection of Allah’s attributes] and some people went to committing al-Tashbeeh [likening Allah with His creation] – exalted and elevated is He by a great height above all of that. But Allah clarified this with the utmost clarification, and He did not leave any confusion or ambiguity. And the attainment of being freed from that (ambiguity) is that He has clarified that the truth regarding the ayaat of attributes is composed to two issues: Continue reading

The Blessings of al-Shaam as mentioned in the Qur’an: ibn Taymiyah

As it comes in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa ibn Taymiyah:

وقال شيخ الإسلام رحمه الله قد أخبر الله بأنه بارك في أرض الشام في آيات : منها قوله : { وأورثنا القوم الذين كانوا يستضعفون مشارق الأرض ومغاربها التي باركنا فيها } . ـ

Sheikh al-Islaam – may Allah have mercy on him – said: Allah has informed us that He has bestowed blessing on the land of al-Shaam* in multiple ayaat. Among them is His statement:

وَأَوْرَ‌ثْنَا الْقَوْمَ الَّذِينَ كَانُوا يُسْتَضْعَفُونَ مَشَارِ‌قَ الْأَرْ‌ضِ وَمَغَارِ‌بَهَا الَّتِي بَارَ‌كْنَا فِيهَا

And We caused the people who had been oppressed to inherit the eastern regions of the land and the western ones, which We had blessed. [7:137]

ومنها قوله : { ونجيناه ولوطا إلى الأرض التي باركنا فيها للعالمين } . ـ

And among them is His statement:

وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَلُوطًا إِلَى الْأَرْ‌ضِ الَّتِي بَارَ‌كْنَا فِيهَا لِلْعَالَمِينَ

And We delivered him and Loot to the land which We had blessed for the all creation. [21:71]

ومنها قوله : { تجري بأمره إلى الأرض التي باركنا فيها وكنا بكل شيء عالمين } . ـ

And among them is His statement: Continue reading

Dealing with the human shayaateen and the jinn shayaateen: Imam al-Shinqitee

Allah says towards the end of surah al-A’araaf:

خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ‌ بِالْعُرْ‌فِ وَأَعْرِ‌ضْ عَنِ الْجَاهِلِينَ * وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant. And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaytan then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower. [7:199-200]
Commenting on this ayah in his book of tafsir, Imam al-Shinqitee wrote:
بين في هذه الآية الكريمة ما ينبغي أن يعامل به الجهلة من شياطين الإنس والجن . فبين أن شيطان الإنس يعامل باللين ، وأخذ العفو ، والإعراض عن جهله وإساءته . وأن شيطان الجن لا منجى منه إلا بالاستعاذة بالله منه ، قال في الأول : خذ العفو وأمر بالعرف وأعرض عن الجاهلين [ 7 \ 199 ] ، وقال في الثاني : وإما ينزغنك من الشيطان نزغ فاستعذ بالله إنه سميع عليم [ 7 \ 200 ] ، وبين هذا الذي ذكرنا في موضعين آخرين . ـ
In this noble ayah, Allah clarified how one should act concerning the ignorance of the shayaateen of mankind and the jinn. So He clarified that the shaytaan of mankind should be treated with gentleness, pardoning and turning away from his ignorance and abuse. And as for the shaytaan of the jinn, there is no safety from him except in seeking refuge with Allah from him. Continue reading

The Story of the Town by the Sea: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-A’araaf, Allah recounts the story of the people of the sea-side village who broke the Sabbath:

وَاسْأَلْهُمْ عَنِ الْقَرْ‌يَةِ الَّتِي كَانَتْ حَاضِرَ‌ةَ الْبَحْرِ‌ إِذْ يَعْدُونَ فِي السَّبْتِ إِذْ تَأْتِيهِمْ حِيتَانُهُمْ يَوْمَ سَبْتِهِمْ شُرَّ‌عًا وَيَوْمَ لَا يَسْبِتُونَ ۙ لَا تَأْتِيهِمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نَبْلُوهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ * وَإِذْ قَالَتْ أُمَّةٌ مِّنْهُمْ لِمَ تَعِظُونَ قَوْمًا ۙ اللَّـهُ مُهْلِكُهُمْ أَوْ مُعَذِّبُهُمْ عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا ۖ قَالُوا مَعْذِرَ‌ةً إِلَىٰ رَ‌بِّكُمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ * فَلَمَّا نَسُوا مَا ذُكِّرُ‌وا بِهِ أَنجَيْنَا الَّذِينَ يَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ السُّوءِ وَأَخَذْنَا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا بِعَذَابٍ بَئِيسٍ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ * فَلَمَّا عَتَوْا عَن مَّا نُهُوا عَنْهُ قُلْنَا لَهُمْ كُونُوا قِرَ‌دَةً خَاسِئِينَ * وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَ‌بُّكَ لَيَبْعَثَنَّ عَلَيْهِمْ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ مَن يَسُومُهُمْ سُوءَ الْعَذَابِ ۗ إِنَّ رَ‌بَّكَ لَسَرِ‌يعُ الْعِقَابِ ۖ وَإِنَّهُ لَغَفُورٌ‌ رَّ‌حِيمٌ

And ask them about the town that was by the sea – when they transgressed in [the matter of] the sabbath – when their fish came to them openly on their sabbath day, and the day they had no sabbath they did not come to them. Thus did We give them trial because they were defiantly disobedient. And when a community among them said, “Why do you advise [or warn] a people whom Allah is [about] to destroy or to punish with a severe punishment?” they [the advisors] said, “To be absolved before your Lord and perhaps that they may fear Him.” And when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We saved those who had forbidden evil and seized those who wronged with a wretched punishment, because they were defiantly disobeying. So when they were insolent about that which they had been forbidden, We said to them, “Be apes, despised.” And [mention] when your Lord declared that He would surely [continue to] send upon them until the Day of Resurrection those who would afflict them with the worst torment. Indeed, your Lord is swift in penalty; but indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful. [al-Qur’an 7:163-167]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his great book of tafsir, wrote the following on these ayaat:

{‏وَاسْأَلْهُمْ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ اسأل بني إسرائيل ‏{‏عَنِ الْقَرْيَةِ الَّتِي كَانَتْ حَاضِرَةَ الْبَحْرِ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ على ساحله في حال تعديهم وعقاب اللّه إياهم‏.‏

And ask them” – meaning, ask the Children of Israa’eel – “about the town that was by the sea” – meaning on its banks, which found itself in the circumstance of harm and the punishment of Allah upon them.

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