“If it had been good, they would not have preceded us to it”: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah says in surah al-Ahqaaf:

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَوْ كَانَ خَيْرًا مَّا سَبَقُونَا إِلَيْهِ ۚ وَإِذْ لَمْ يَهْتَدُوا بِهِ فَسَيَقُولُونَ هَـٰذَا إِفْكٌ قَدِيمٌ

And those who disbelieve say of those who believe, “If it had been good, they would not have preceded us to it.” And when they are not guided by it, they will say, “This is an ancient falsehood.” [46:11]

In his famous commentary on the Qur’an, Abu’l-Fidaa’ Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir wrote the following words regarding this ayah:

وقوله تعالى : ( وقال الذين كفروا للذين آمنوا لو كان خيرا ما سبقونا إليه ) أي : قالوا عن المؤمنين بالقرآن : لو كان القرآن خيرا ما سبقنا هؤلاء إليه . يعنون بلالا وعمارا وصهيبا وخبابا وأشباههم وأقرانهم من المستضعفين والعبيد والإماء ، وما ذاك إلا لأنهم عند أنفسهم يعتقدون أن لهم عند الله وجاهة وله بهم عناية . وقد غلطوا في ذلك غلطا فاحشا ، وأخطئوا خطأ بينا ، كما قال تعالى : ( وكذلك فتنا بعضهم ببعض ليقولوا أهؤلاء من الله عليهم من بيننا ) [ الأنعام : 53 ] أي : يتعجبون : كيف اهتدى هؤلاء دوننا ; ولهذا قالوا : ( لو كان خيرا ما سبقونا إليه ) وأما أهل السنة والجماعة فيقولون في كل فعل وقول لم يثبت عن الصحابة : هو بدعة ; لأنه لو كان خيرا لسبقونا إليه ؛ لأنهم [ ص: 279 ] لم يتركوا خصلة من خصال الخير إلا وقد بادروا إليها . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَوْ كَانَ خَيْرًا مَّا سَبَقُونَا إِلَيْهِ

And those who disbelieve say of those who believe, “If it had been good, they would not have preceded us to it.”

meaning: they remark regarding those who are believers in the Qur’an, “if the Qur’an were any good, then these people would not have beaten us to it.” And they were referring to Bilal, ‘Ammaar, Suhaib, Khubaab and other such weak ones and slaves. And they only did this because they held themselves to have a certain standing and importance with Allah, however they were severely mistaken and in clear error regarding this assessment. This is like what Allah said: Continue reading

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“Those of determination among the messengers”: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Imam Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following in his tafsir:

قوله – تعالى – : فاصبر كما صبر أولوا العزم من الرسل . اختلف العلماء في المراد بأولي العزم من الرسل في هذه الآية الكريمة اختلافا كثيرا . ـ

Allah said:

فَاصْبِرْ‌ كَمَا صَبَرَ‌ أُولُو الْعَزْمِ مِنَ الرُّ‌سُلِ

So exercise sabr, (O Muhammad), as did those of determination among the messengers [46:35]

The scholars have differed greatly concerning the intended meaning of ‘those of determination’ [uloo al-‘azm] among the messengers in this noble ayah.

وأشهر الأقوال في ذلك أنهم خمسة ، وهم الذين قدمنا ذكرهم في ” الأحزاب ” و ” الشورى ” ، وهم نوح وإبراهيم وموسى وعيسى ومحمد – عليهم الصلاة والسلام – . ـ

And the most well-known position in this matter is that they are five, and they are those who were previously mentioned in surah al-Ahzab [33:7] and surah al-Shooraa [42:13], who are Nuh, Ibrahim, Moosaa, ‘Eesaa and Muhammad (‘alaihim al-salaatu wa’l-salaam).

وعلى هذا القول فالرسل الذين أمر رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – أن يصبر كما صبروا – أربعة ، فصار هو – صلى الله عليه وسلم – خامسهم . ـ

So according to this position, then the messengers which the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was commanded to exercise sabr as they has exercised sabr were four, so he (ﷺ) became their fifth. Continue reading