“Only those who hear will respond”: Tafsir al-Tabari and Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in surah al-An’aam:

إِنَّمَا يَسْتَجِيبُ الَّذِينَ يَسْمَعُونَ ۘ وَالْمَوْتَىٰ يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّـهُ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ يُرْجَعُونَ

Only those who hear will respond. But the dead – Allah will resurrect them; then to Him they will be returned. [6:36]

In his famous book of tafsir, Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari commented on this ayah by writing:

 قال أبو جعفر : يقول – تعالى ذكره – لنبيه محمد – صلى الله عليه وسلم – : لا يكبرن عليك إعراض هؤلاء المعرضين عنك ، وعن الاستجابة لدعائك إذا دعوتهم إلى توحيد ربهم والإقرار بنبوتك ، فإنه لا يستجيب لدعائك – إلى ما تدعوه إليه من ذلك – إلا الذين فتح الله أسماعهم للإصغاء إلى الحق ، وسهل لهم اتباع الرشد ، دون من ختم الله على سمعه ، فلا يفقه من دعائك إياه إلى الله وإلى اتباع الحق إلا ما تفقه الأنعام من أصوات رعاتها ، فهم كما وصفهم به الله – تعالى ذكره – : صم بكم عمي فهم لا يعقلون [ سورة البقرة : 171 ] ـ

I, Abu Ja’far, say: Allah is addressing His Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) by saying: Do not be distressed by the rejection of these ones who turn away from you and from responding to your call when you call them to singling out their Lord in worship and affirming your prophet-hood. For none will respond to your call – that is, those things which you are calling to – except for those whom Allah has opened their hearing to listen to the truth and then made it easy for them to follow the correct guidance. This is to the exclusion of those whom Allah has placed a seal over their hearing, so they do not understand this call to worship Allah and to follow the truth, this call of yours which is directed to them. They do not understand it any more than cattle understand the voice of their herder. So they are like those whom Allah described in this way:

وَمَثَلُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا كَمَثَلِ الَّذِي يَنْعِقُ بِمَا لَا يَسْمَعُ إِلَّا دُعَاءً وَنِدَاءً ۚ صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ

And the example of those who disbelieve, is as that of him who shouts to those that that hear nothing but calls and cries. (They are) deaf, dumb and blind. So they do not understand. [2:171]

ـ” والموتى يبعثهم الله ” يقول : والكفار يبعثهم الله مع الموتى ، فجعلهم – تعالى ذكره – في عداد الموتى الذين لا يسمعون صوتا ، ولا يعقلون دعاء ، ولا يفقهون قولا إذ كانوا لا يتدبرون حجج الله ، ولا يعتبرون آياته ، ولا يتذكرون فينزجرون عما هم عليه من تكذيب رسل الله وخلافهم . ـ

وَالْمَوْتَىٰ يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّـهُ

But the dead – Allah will resurrect them Continue reading

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Ten Important Commandments from the End of Surah al-An’aam: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-An’aam, Allah provides a number of important commands in His statement:

قُلْ تَعَالَوْا أَتْلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ أَلَّا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۖ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُم مِّنْ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكُمْ وَإِيَّاهُمْ ۖ وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ ۖ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّـهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ * وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا مَالَ الْيَتِيمِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ أَشُدَّهُ ۖ وَأَوْفُوا الْكَيْلَ وَالْمِيزَانَ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ لَا نُكَلِّفُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۖ وَإِذَا قُلْتُمْ فَاعْدِلُوا وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَىٰ ۖ وَبِعَهْدِ اللَّـهِ أَوْفُوا ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ * وَأَنَّ هَـٰذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَن سَبِيلِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

Say: Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited for you. That you not associate anything with Him. And to parents, good treatment. And do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and for them. And do not approach immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed. And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you in order that you may understand.

And do not approach the orphan’s property except in a way that is best until he reaches maturity. And give full measure and weight in justice. We do not charge any soul except according to its capacity. And when you speak, be just, even if concerning a near relative. And fulfill the covenant of Allah. This has He instructed you that you may remember.

And this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow other ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous. [6:151-153]

Commenting on this in his well-known tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

قول تعالى لنبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم: قل لهؤلاء الذين حرموا ما أحل الله. تعالوا أتل ما حرم ربكم عليكم تحريما عاما شاملا لكل أحد، محتويا على سائر المحرمات، من المآكل والمشارب والأقوال والأفعال. ألا تشركوا به شيئا أي: لا قليلا ولا كثيرا. ـ

Allah is saying to His Prophet (ﷺ):

قُلْ

Say: …

to these people who consider what Allah has made permissible to be impermissible

تَعَالَوْا أَتْلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ

… Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you

with a broad prohibition which encompasses and applies to all, inclusive of all the prohibitions not explicitly mentioned in it, whether they be foods, drinks, statements or actions. 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

A Refutation of Blaming Sins on Qadr: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in surah al-An’aam:

سَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا لَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا أَشْرَكْنَا وَلَا آبَاؤُنَا وَلَا حَرَّمْنَا مِن شَيْءٍ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ كَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ ذَاقُوا بَأْسَنَا ۗ قُلْ هَلْ عِندَكُم مِّنْ عِلْمٍ فَتُخْرِجُوهُ لَنَا ۖ إِن تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلَّا تَخْرُصُونَ * قُلْ فَلِلَّهِ الْحُجَّةُ الْبَالِغَةُ ۖ فَلَوْ شَاءَ لَهَدَاكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ

Those who took partners (in worship) with Allah will say: “If Allah had willed, we would not have taken partners (in worship) with Him, nor would our fathers, and we would not have forbidden anything (against His Will).” Likewise belied those who were before them, till they tasted of Our Wrath. Say: “Have you any knowledge (proof) that you can produce before us? Verily, you follow nothing but assumption and you do nothing but lie.” * Say: “With Allah is the perfect proof and argument. Had He so willed, He would indeed have guided you all.” [6:148-149]

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

هذا إخبار من الله أن المشركين سيحتجون على شركهم وتحريمهم ما أحل الله، بالقضاء والقدر، ويجعلون مشيئة الله الشاملة لكل شيء من الخير والشر حجة لهم في دفع اللوم عنهم. وقد قالوا ما أخبر الله أنهم سيقولونه، كما قال في الآية الأخرى: { وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا لَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا عَبَدْنَا مِنْ دُونِهِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ } الآية. ـ

This is Allah informing us that the mushrikoon will use al-Qadaa and al-Qadr [Allah’s Divine Decree and Pre-ordainment] to argue in support of their shirk and their declaring what Allah has made permissible impermissible, and that they will take Allah’s will – which encompasses everything, both good and evil – as an argument in their favor for repelling any blame against them. And they did in fact say what Allah informed us that they would say, just as He said in another ayah:

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَ‌كُوا لَوْ شَاءَ اللَّـهُ مَا عَبَدْنَا مِن دُونِهِ مِن شَيْءٍ نَّحْنُ وَلَا آبَاؤُنَا وَلَا حَرَّ‌مْنَا مِن دُونِهِ مِن شَيْءٍ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ فَعَلَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ فَهَلْ عَلَى الرُّ‌سُلِ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ

And those who associate others with Allah say, “If Allah had willed, we would not have worshipped anything other than Him, neither we nor our fathers, nor would we have forbidden anything through other than Him.” Thus did those do before them. So is there upon the messengers except [the duty of] clear notification? [16:35]

فأخبر تعالى أن هذة الحجة، لم تزل الأمم المكذبة تدفع بها عنهم دعوة الرسل، ويحتجون بها، فلم تجد فيهم شيئا ولم تنفعهم، فلم يزل هذا دأبهم حتى أهكلهم الله، وأذاقهم بأسه. ـ

So Allah informed us that the nations of falsehood still use this argument to repel the call of the messengers from them and they argue using this. But it does not do anything for them nor does it benefit them, so this perseverance of theirs will continue until Allah destroys them and makes them taste His punishment.

فلو كانت حجة صحيحة، لدفعت عنهم العقاب، ولما أحل الله بهم العذاب، لأنه لا يحل بأسه إلا بمن استحقه، فعلم أنها حجة فاسدة، وشبهة كاسدة، من عدة أوجه: ـ

For if this line of argument were true, then it would repel punishment from them and Allah would not allow punishment to happen to them because He does not allow punishment to happen except to those who deserve it. So it is known that this argumentation is false and that it is a doubt which falls flat for a number of reasons: Continue reading

“No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah mentions in surah al-An’aam:

لَّا تُدْرِ‌كُهُ الْأَبْصَارُ‌ وَهُوَ يُدْرِ‌كُ الْأَبْصَارَ‌ ۖ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ‌

No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision. And He is the Subtle, the Intimately-Acquainted. [6:103]

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

 ـ { لَا تُدْرِكُهُ الْأَبْصَارُ } لعظمته، وجلاله وكماله، أي: لا تحيط به الأبصار، وإن كانت تراه، وتفرح بالنظر إلى وجهه الكريم، فنفي الإدراك لا ينفي الرؤية، بل يثبتها بالمفهوم. فإنه إذا نفى الإدراك، الذي هو أخص أوصاف الرؤية، دل على أن الرؤية ثابتة . ـ

No vision can grasp Him” due to His Grandeur and Perfection – meaning, He is not encompassed by any vision, and if you were to see Him you would rejoice at looking at His Noble Face. So the negation of encompassment does not negate seeing; rather it affirms it by implication. For indeed if encompassment is negated – which is a more specific type of seeing – then this proves that seeing is affirmed.

فإنه لو أراد نفي الرؤية، لقال “لا تراه الأبصار” ونحو ذلك، فعلم أنه ليس في الآية حجة لمذهب المعطلة، الذين ينفون رؤية ربهم في الآخرة، بل فيها ما يدل على نقيض قولهم . ـ

For if He had wanted to negate seeing, He would have said, “no vision can see Him” or the likes of that. So it is known that this ayah does not contain a proof text in support of the school of negating Allah’s attributes – those who negate seeing their Lord in the Hereafter. Rather, in this ayah there is that which proves the opposite of their position. Continue reading

The meaning of al-thulm : Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

Allah says in surah al-An’aam:

الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يَلْبِسُوا إِيمَانَهُم بِظُلْمٍ أُولَـٰئِكَ لَهُمُ الْأَمْنُ وَهُم مُّهْتَدُونَ

Those who believe and do not mix their belief with thulm – for them (only) there is security and they are the guided.

[al-Qur’an 6:82]

Commenting on this ayah, al-Haafidh ibn Rajab al-Hanbali wrote:

خرّج البخاري ومسلم : من حديثِ ابن مسعود ، قال : لمّا نزلت : < الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يَلْبِسُوا إِيمَانَهُم بِظُلْمٍ > ، قال أصحاب الرسول الله ﷺ : أيّنا لم يظلم نفسه ؟ فأنزل الله : < إِنَّ الشِّرْ‌كَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ > . ـ

Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported the hadeeth of ibn Mas’ood that he said, “When the ayah, ‘Those who believe and do not mix their belief with thulm‘ [6:82] was revealed, the companions of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, ‘Which of us does not wrong himself?’ So Allah revealed the ayah, ‘Verily al-shirk is great thulm‘ [31:13].

و معنى هذا : أنّ الظلم يختلف : ـ

And this means that the meaning of al-thulm varies: Continue reading

“They would not believe unless Allah should will”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in surah al-An’aam:

وَأَقْسَمُوا بِاللَّـهِ جَهْدَ أَيْمَانِهِمْ لَئِن جَاءَتْهُمْ آيَةٌ لَّيُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهَا ۚ قُلْ إِنَّمَا الْآيَاتُ عِندَ اللَّـهِ ۖ وَمَا يُشْعِرُ‌كُمْ أَنَّهَا إِذَا جَاءَتْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ ﴿١٠٩﴾ وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَارَ‌هُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّ‌ةٍ وَنَذَرُ‌هُمْ فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ ﴿١١٠﴾وَلَوْ أَنَّنَا نَزَّلْنَا إِلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةَ وَكَلَّمَهُمُ الْمَوْتَىٰ وَحَشَرْ‌نَا عَلَيْهِمْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ قُبُلًا مَّا كَانُوا لِيُؤْمِنُوا إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّـهُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ‌هُمْ يَجْهَلُونَ ﴿١١١﴾

And they swear by Allah their strongest oaths that if a sign came to them, they would surely believe in it. Say, “The signs are only with Allah.” And what will make you perceive that even if a sign came, they would not believe. And We will turn away their hearts and their eyes just as they refused to believe in it the first time. And We will leave them in their transgression, wandering blindly. And even if We had sent down to them the angels and the dead spoke to them and We gathered together every thing in front of them, they would not believe unless Allah should will. But most of them are ignorant.

Imam al-Sa’di, commenting on these powerful words, writes the following in his book of tafsir:

أي‏:‏ وأقسم المشركون المكذبون للرسول محمد ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏‏ ‏{‏بِاللَّهِ جَهْدَ أَيْمَانِهِمْ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ قسما اجتهدوا فيه وأكدوه‏‏

Meaning: So the unbelievers and the deniers of the Messenger Muhammad (ﷺ) swear “by Allah their strongest oaths” – meaning: an oath which they virulently assert and confirm.

‏{‏لَئِنْ جَاءَتْهُمْ آيَةٌ‏}‏ تدل على صدق محمد ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏{‏لَيُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهَا‏}‏ وهذا الكلام الذي صدر منهم، لم يكن قصدهم فيه الرشاد، وإنما قصدهم دفع الاعتراض عليهم، ورد ما جاء به الرسول قطعًا، فإن الله أيد رسوله ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ بالآيات البينات، والأدلة الواضحات، التي ـ عند الالتفات لها ـ لا تبقي أدنى شبهة ولا إشكال في صحة ما جاء به،

that if a sign came to them” proving the truth of Muhammad (ﷺ) “they would surely believe in it“. And that is the speech which they publicly announced, but their intention in that was not right guidance, and their intention was only to put forward their opposition against it, and they rejected that with which the Messenger came unreservedly. For verily Allah supported His messenger (ﷺ) with clear signs, and clarifying proofs, which – if one pays attention to them – do not leave the least doubt or confusion in the truthfulness of what he came with.

فطلبهم ـ بعد ذلك ـ للآيات من باب التعنت، الذي لا يلزم إجابته، بل قد يكون المنع من إجابتهم أصلح لهم،

So they demanded – after that [i.e. after those clear signs had already come to them] – signs with an attitude of obstinacy, demands which do not merit a response; rather they have been prohibited from a response which would rectify them [from their obstinacy and misguidance].

فإن الله جرت سنته في عباده، أن المقترحين للآيات على رسلهم، إذا جاءتهم، فلم يؤمنوا بها ـ أنه يعاجلهم بالعقوبة، ولهذا قال‏:‏ ‏{‏قُلْ إِنَّمَا الْآيَاتُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ هو الذي يرسلها إذا شاء، ويمنعها إذا شاء، ليس لي من الأمر شيء،

For verily Allah has acted according to His sunnah [established way] concerning His slaves, that those who made such brash demands of His messengers when they came to them and they did not believe in them, that He made for them a punishment. And about this He says, “Say, ‘The signs are only with Allah‘” – meaning: He is the One who sends them when He wills, and halts them when He wills, the affair is not up to me.

فطلبكم مني الآيات ظلم، وطلب لما لا أملك، وإنما توجهون إلي توضيح ما جئتكم به، وتصديقه، وقد حصل، ومع ذلك، فليس معلوما، أنهم إذا جاءتهم الآيات يؤمنون ويصدقون، بل الغالب ممن هذه حاله، أنه لا يؤمن، ولهذا قال‏:‏ ‏{‏وَمَا يُشْعِرُكُمْ أَنَّهَا إِذَا جَاءَتْ لَا +يُؤْمِنُونَ‏}‏

So whoever seeks a sign from me has done wrong, and has sought from me something over which I have no control. And the signs are only pointing towards clarification of what came to them, and confirming it. And what has already occurred along with that, then it is not known. There were those who believed and affirmed it when it came to them, but the majority of them in the situation, they did not believe. And Allah says about this, “And what will make you perceive that even if a sign came, they would not believe“.

‏{‏وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَارَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَنَذَرُهُمْ فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ ونعاقبهم، إذا لم يؤمنوا أول مرة يأتيهم فيها الداعي، وتقوم عليهم الحجة، بتقليب القلوب، والحيلولة بينهم وبين الإيمان، وعدم التوفيق لسلوك الصراط المستقيم‏.‏

And We will turn away their hearts and their eyes just as they refused to believe in it the first time. And We will leave them in their transgression, wandering blindly” – meaning: and We will punish them, when they did not believe the first time We gave them that which came to them calling, and we establish a proof against them, and turned their hearts [away], and placed a preventing barrier between them and eemaan, and the absence of success in traversing the sirat al-mustaqeem.

وهذا من عدل الله، وحكمته بعباده، فإنهم الذين جنوا على أنفسهم، وفتح لهم الباب فلم يدخلوا، وبين لهم الطريق فلم يسلكوا، فبعد ذلك إذا حرموا التوفيق، كان مناسبا لأحوالهم‏.‏

And this is from the justice (‘adl) of Allah, and His wisdom of His slaves. For verily those insulate themselves (in their denial and rejection of the clear signs), and the door was opened for them but them did not enter, and the path was made clear for them and they did not traverse on it, then after that they are prohibited from success; that is befitting for their condition.

وكذلك تعليقهم الإيمان بإرادتهم، ومشيئتهم وحدهم، وعدم الاعتماد على الله من أكبر الغلط، فإنهم لو جاءتهم الآيات العظيمة، من تنزيل الملائكة إليهم، يشهدون للرسول بالرسالة، وتكليم الموتى وبعثهم بعد موتهم، وحشر كل شيء إليهم حتى يكلمهم ‏{‏قُبُلًا‏}‏ ومشاهدة، ومباشرة، بصدق ما جاء به الرسول ما حصل منهم الإيمان، إذا لم يشأ الله إيمانهم، ولكن أكثرهم يجهلون‏.‏ فلذلك رتبوا إيمانهم، على مجرد إتيان الآيات،

And like this they suspended eemaan by their own volition and will alone, and not relying upon Allah is one of the greatest mistakes. For even if great signs came to them, such as the angels descending to them, and their witnessing the messenger with the message, and the speech of the dead and their resurrection after their death, and gathering everything  to them until they speak “in front of them” and they are witnesses (of that), and given glad tidings of the truthfulness of what the Messenger came with, then what would happen to them regarding eemaan when Allah did not will for them to have eemaan? However most of them are ignorant. So like this their eemaan was derived from the mere giving of signs.

وإنما العقل والعلم، أن يكون العبد مقصوده اتباع الحق، ويطلبه بالطرق التي بينها الله، ويعمل بذلك، ويستعين ربه في اتباعه، ولا يتكل على نفسه وحوله وقوته، ولا يطلب من الآيات الاقتراحية ما لا فائدة فيه‏.‏

And it is only from reason and knowledge that the slave’s objective would be to follow the truth, and to seek the path which Allah has made clear, and to act according to that, and to seek the aid of his Lord in following it. And not to rely on himself and his own competence and ability, and not to seek the outlandish signs; there is not benefit in that.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 300-301]

For the next two ayaat of surah al-An’aam, see: We have made for every prophet an enemy: Tafsir al-Sa’di

“Do not insult those they invoke other than Allah”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

Allah commands the believers in His Book when He says:

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]

Imam al-Qurtubi, in his book of tafsir, writes about this ayah:

قوله تعالى‏{‏ولا تسبوا الذين يدعون من دون الله‏}‏ نهي‏.‏ {‏فيسبوا الله‏}‏ جواب النهي‏.‏ فنهى سبحانه لمؤمنين أن يسبوا أوثانهم؛ لأنه علم إذا سبوها نفر الكفار وازدادوا كفرا‏.‏ قال ابن عباس‏:‏ قالت كفار قريش لأبي طالب إما أن تنهى محمدا وأصحابه عن سب آلهتنا والغض منها وإما أن إلهه ونهجوه؛ فنزلت الآية‏.‏

His statement, “And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah” – a prohibition. “Lest they insult Allah” – the condition for the prohibition. So Allah (Exalted is He) prohibited the believers from insulting their idols, because He knows that insulting them will drive the kuffaar away in aversion and increase them in kufr. Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “The kuffaar of Quraish said to Abu Taalib, ‘why don’t you prohibit Muhammad and his companions from insulting our gods and belittling them, and we will assume a similar attitude towards his god.” So the ayah was revealed. Continue reading

We have made for every prophet an enemy: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah informs us in surah al-An’aam:

وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نَبِيٍّ عَدُوًّا شَيَاطِينَ الْإِنسِ وَالْجِنِّ يُوحِي بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ زُخْرُ‌فَ الْقَوْلِ غُرُ‌ورً‌ا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَ‌بُّكَ مَا فَعَلُوهُ ۖ فَذَرْ‌هُمْ وَمَا يَفْتَرُ‌ونَ    وَلِتَصْغَىٰ إِلَيْهِ أَفْئِدَةُ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَ‌ةِ وَلِيَرْ‌ضَوْهُ وَلِيَقْتَرِ‌فُوا مَا هُم مُّقْتَرِ‌فُونَ

And thus We have made for every prophet an enemy – devils from mankind and jinn, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion. But if your Lord had willed, they would not have done it, so leave them and that which they invent. (And this is in order) that the hearts of those who disbelieve in the Hereafter may incline to such (deceit), and that they may remain pleased with it, and that they may commit what they are committing. [6:112-113]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, wrote about these ayaat by saying:

يقول تعالى ـ مسليا لرسوله محمد ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ وكما جعلنا لك أعداء يردون دعوتك، ويحاربونك، ويحسدونك، فهذه سنتنا، أن نجعل لكل نبي نرسله إلى الخلق أعداء، من شياطين الإنس والجن، يقومون بضد ما جاءت به الرسل‏.‏

Allah the Exalted says – consoling His Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) – that just as We made enemies for you who rebel against your da’wah, and fight you, and envy you, so this is Our sunnah (established way), that We made an enemy for every prophet  who we sent to the creation, from the shayaateen of humankind or jinn, who establishes the opposite of what the messenger was sent with.

‏{‏يُوحِي بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ زُخْرُفَ الْقَوْلِ غُرُورًا‏}‏ أي‏:‏ يزين بعضهم لبعض الأمر الذي يدعون إليه من الباطل، ويزخرفون له العبارات حتى يجعلوه في أحسن صورة، ليغتر به السفهاء، وينقاد له الأغبياء، الذين لا يفهمون الحقائق، ولا يفقهون المعاني، بل تعجبهم الألفاظ المزخرفة، والعبارات المموهة، فيعتقدون الحق باطلا والباطل حقا، ولهذا قال تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏وَلِتَصْغَى إِلَيْهِ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ ولتميل إلى ذلك الكلام المزخرف ‏{‏أَفْئِدَةُ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ‏}‏ لأن عدم إيمانهم باليوم الآخر وعدم عقولهم النافعة، يحملهم على ذلك، ‏{‏وَلِيَرْضَوْهُ‏}‏ بعد أن يصغوا إليه، فيصغون إليه أولا، فإذا مالوا إليه ورأوا تلك العبارات المستحسنة، رضوه، وزين في قلوبهم، وصار عقيدة راسخة، وصفة لازمة، ثم ينتج من ذلك، أن يقترفوا من الأعمال والأقوال ما هم مقترفون، أي‏:‏ يأتون من الكذب بالقول والفعل، ما هو من لوازم تلك العقائد القبيحة، فهذه حال المغترين بشياطين الإنس والجن، المستجيبين لدعوتهم،  ـ

Inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion” – meaning some of them made the false things to which they were calling attractive and appealing to others, and they embellish it with slogans until they form it into a beautiful image, which deceives the foolish ones, and compels the ignorant ones who do not understand the reality of things, nor do the understand [its] meaning, rather they are [merely] amazed by the ornate wordings and misleading slogans, so they believe the truth is false and that falsehood is true. And this is as He said, “And so that they incline towards it” – meaning, to incline towards that decorated speech – “the hearts of those who disbelieve in the Hereafter” because they have no belief in the Last Day and they have no beneficial form of intellect, and along with that, “and that they may remain pleased with it” after they incline towards it, so they inclined towards it first, and when they inclined towards it and they saw that the embellished slogans and phrases pleased them, and it is beautified in their hearts, and became a firm belief (in them). This is a recipe for crisis which then occurs, that they would commit whatever actions and statements they would commit – meaning that they come with false words and actions which are fueled by those reprehensible beliefs, and this is the result of the deception of the human and jinn shayaateen, and those who respond to their call.

وأما أهل الإيمان بالآخرة، وأولو العقول الوافية والألباب الرزينة، فإنهم لا يغترون بتلك العبارات، ولا تخلبهم تلك التمويهات، بل همتهم مصروفة إلى معرفة الحقائق، فينظرون إلى المعاني التي يدعو إليها الدعاة، فإن كانت حقا قبلوها، وانقادوا لها، ولو كسيت عبارات ردية، وألفاظا غير وافية، وإن كانت باطلا ردوها على من قالها، كائنا من كان، ولو ألبست من العبارات المستحسنة، ما هو أرق من الحرير‏.‏

But as for the people who have eemaan in the hereafter, those who have adequate intellects and sober minds, then they are certainly not deceived by those slogans and phrases, nor are they beguiled by the misleading, hidden messages. Rather, they place their utmost import and effort on knowing the reality of things, and looking into the meanings of the things to which their proponents call. So if it is true at its core, and [the shayaateen from mankind and jinn] criticize it, even if it covered with decrepit slogans and faulty wording [they would still believe in it], and if it is false, them they return it [in rejection] to its source, whoever that may be, even if it it clothed with pleasing slogans which are finer than silk.

ومن حكمة الله تعالى، في جعله للأنبياء أعداء، وللباطل أنصارا قائمين بالدعوة إليه، أن يحصل لعباده الابتلاء والامتحان، ليتميز الصادق من الكاذب، والعاقل من الجاهل، والبصير من الأعمى‏.‏

And from the wisdom of Allah the Exalted is that He made enemies for the prophets and supporters of falsehood who establish the call to that, so that there would be trials and tests for His slaves, in order to distinguish the truthful from the liar, and the intelligent from the ignorant, and seeing from the blind.

ومن حكمته أن في ذلك بيانا للحق، وتوضيحا له، فإن الحق يستنير ويتضح إذا قام الباطل يصارعه ويقاومه‏.‏ فإنه ـ حينئذ ـ يتبين من أدلة الحق، وشواهده الدالة على صدقه وحقيقته، ومن فساد الباطل وبطلانه، ما هو من أكبر المطالب، التي يتنافس فيها المتنافسون‏.‏

And from His wisdom is that in that [the presence of an opposition] there is a clarification of the truth, and a clear demonstration of it, for certainly the truth will be illuminated and clarified when falsehood stands to [try and] beat it and resist it. For certainly this manifests the evidence of the truth, and the evidence is supported by its truthfulness and accuracy, [and it also manifestly demonstrates] the depravity of falsehood and its falsity. So which one is greater, when the two contestants face off?

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman]

For Imam al-Sa’di’s explanation of the ayaat immediately preceding these, see: They would not believe unless Allah should will: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: You will surely hear much abuse: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Ibn al-Qayyim on the Wisdom and Benefits of the Creation of the Shayaateen

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