“…Until they change what is within themselves”: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

In surah al-Anfaal, Allah informs us that:

ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّـهَ لَمْ يَكُ مُغَيِّرًا نِّعْمَةً أَنْعَمَهَا عَلَىٰ قَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ ۙ وَأَنَّ اللَّـهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

That is because Allah would not change a favor which He had bestowed upon a people until they change what is within themselves. And indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing. [8:53]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee commented on this in his tafsir by writing:

ذكر تعالى في هذه الآية الكريمة أنه لا يغير نعمة أنعمها على أحد إلا بسبب ذنب ارتكبه ، وأوضح هذا المعنى في آيات أخر كقوله : إن الله لا يغير ما بقوم حتى يغيروا ما بأنفسهم وإذا أراد الله بقوم سوءا فلا مرد له وما لهم من دونه من وال [ 13 \ 11 ] ، وقوله : وما أصابكم من مصيبة فبما كسبت أيديكم ويعفو عن كثير [ 42 \ 30 ] ، وقوله : ما أصابك من حسنة فمن الله وما أصابك من سيئة فمن نفسك [ 4 \ 79 ] إلى غير ذلك من الآيات

In this noble ayah, Allah mentioned that He will not change a blessing which He has bestowed upon someone except due to a sin which that person has committed.

And Allah has made this meaning clear in a number of other verses, such as His statement: Continue reading

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The Believers’ Response to the Mention of Allah: Imam al-Shinqitee

In his book responding to perceived contradictions in the Qur’an, sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following:

قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى: إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ الْآيَةَ. ـ

Regarding Allah’s statement:

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّـهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ

The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely. [8:2]

هَذِهِ الْآيَةُ تَدُلُّ عَلَى أَنْ وَجَلَ الْقُلُوبِ عِنْدَ سَمَاعِ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ مِنْ عَلَامَاتِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ. وَقَدْ جَاءَ فِي آيَةٍ أُخْرَى مَا يَدُلُّ عَلَى خِلَافَ ذَلِكَ وَهِيَ قَوْلُهُ: الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُمْ بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ [13 \ 28] . فَالْمُنَافَاةُ بَيْنَ الطُّمَأْنِينَةِ وَوَجَلِ الْقُلُوبِ ظَاهِرَةٌ. ـ

This ayah indicates that a person’s heart feeling fearful upon hearing mention of Allah is one of the distinguishing signs of the believers. However, in another ayah, there is something else which points to the opposite, which is Allah’s statement:

الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُمْ بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

They are those who believe and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest. [13:28]

And the incongruity between one’s heart being fearful versus being at rest is obvious.

وَالْجَوَابُ عَنْ هَذَا أَنَّ الطُّمَأْنِينَةَ تَكُونُ بِانْشِرَاحِ الصَّدْرِ بِمَعْرِفَةِ التَّوْحِيدِ، وَالْوَجَلُ يَكُونُ عِنْدَ خَوْفِ الزَّيْغِ وَالذَّهَابِ عَنِ الْهُدَى، كَمَا يُشِيرُ إِلَى ذَلِكَ قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى: تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ جُلُودُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ ثُمَّ تَلِينُ جُلُودُهُمْ وَقُلُوبُهُمْ إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ [39 \ 23] ، وَقَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى: رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا الْآيَةَ [3 \ 8] . وَقَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى: وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْتُونَ مَا آتَوْا وَقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَى رَبِّهِمْ رَاجِعُونَ [23 \ 60] . ـ

The reconciliation for this issue is that feeling at rest comes from the heart being opened to the awareness and recognition of al-tawheed, while fearfulness comes from fear of deviation and straying from guidance. This is just as is shown in Allah’s statement:

تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ جُلُودُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ ثُمَّ تَلِينُ جُلُودُهُمْ وَقُلُوبُهُمْ إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ

The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it; then their skins and their hearts relax at the remembrance of Allah. [39:23]

as well as His statement:

رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ

Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us mercy from You. Indeed, You are the Bestower.[3:8]

and also His statement:

وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْتُونَ مَا آتَوْا وَقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَى رَبِّهِمْ رَاجِعُونَ

And those who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord [23:60]

[Daf’u Eehaam pg. 103]

See also: Supposed Contradictions in the Qur’an: ibn ‘Uthaymeen

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Fear a trial which will not only afflict the wrongdoers: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

Allah says in surah al-Anfaal:

وَاتَّقُوا فِتْنَةً لَّا تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنكُمْ خَاصَّةً ۖ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

And exercise fear and caution of a trial which will not only afflict those of you who have done wrong, and know that Allah is severe in penalty. (8:25)

In his book of tafsir, Imam ِAbu ‘Abdullah Muhammad al-Qurtubi mentioned the following points:

قال ابن عباس : أمر الله المؤمنين ألا يقروا المنكر بين أظهرهم فيعمهم العذاب . وكذلك تأول فيها الزبير بن العوام فإنه قال يوم الجمل ، وكان سنة ست وثلاثين : ما علمت أنا أردنا بهذه الآية إلا اليوم ، وما كنت أظنها إلا فيمن خوطب ذلك الوقت . وكذلك تأول الحسن البصري والسدي وغيرهما . قال السدي : نزلت الآية في أهل بدر خاصة ; فأصابتهم الفتنة يوم الجمل فاقتتلوا . وقال ابن عباس رضي الله عنه : نزلت هذه الآية في أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : وقال : أمر الله المؤمنين ألا يقروا المنكر فيما بينهم فيعمهم الله بالعذاب . وعن حذيفة بن اليمان قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : يكون بين ناس من أصحابي فتنة يغفرها الله لهم بصحبتهم إياي يستن بهم فيها ناس بعدهم يدخلهم الله بها النار . ـ

Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “Allah commanded the believers not to accept for wrongdoing to become widespread among them, for then He would encompass them all with punishment.”

Al-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwaam interpreted this ayah in a similar manner, for on the day of the Battle of al-Jamal – which was in the 36th year after the Hijrah – he said, “I never knew that I was the subject of this ayah until today. I thought it was only referring to those who were being addressed at the time of its initial revelation [i.e. the Battle of Badr].” al-Hasan al-Basri, al-Suddi, and others also interpreted it this way. al-Suddi said, “This ayah was revealed specifically regarding the people of the Battle of Badr, then they were afflicted with that fitnah on the Day of al-Jamal and they fell into fighting one another.”

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “This ayah was revealed regarding the Companions of the Prophet (ﷺ)”, and he also said, “Allah commanded the believers not to allow wrongdoing to become accepted among them, for then Allah would subsume them all in punishment.” Continue reading

Fear a trial which will not only strike the wrongdoers: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-Anfaal, Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّـهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ ۖ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ * وَاتَّقُوا فِتْنَةً لَّا تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنكُمْ خَاصَّةً ۖ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life. And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that to Him you will be gathered. * And exercise fear and caution of a trial which will not only strike those of you who have done wrong, and know that Allah is severe in penalty. (8:24-25)

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di wrote the following commentary on these verses in his well-known book of tafsir:

يأمر تعالى عباده المؤمنين بما يقتضيه الإيمان منهم وهو الاستجابة لله وللرسول، أي: الانقياد لما أمرا به والمبادرة إلى ذلك والدعوة إليه، والاجتناب لما نهيا عنه، والانكفاف عنه والنهي عنه. ـ

Allah is commanding His believing slaves with what faith requires of them, which is responding to Allah and the Messenger. Meaning: complying with what they command, being eager to do so, and also calling others to that, as well as avoiding what they prohibit, abstaining from it, and also prohibiting others from it.

وقوله: إذا دعاكم لما يحييكم وصف ملازم لكل ما دعا الله ورسوله إليه، وبيان لفائدته وحكمته، فإن حياة القلب والروح بعبودية الله تعالى ولزوم طاعته وطاعة رسوله على الدوام. ـ

And His statement: Continue reading

“And do not be like those who say, ‘We have heard,’ while they do not hear”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

In surah al-Anfal, Allah commands the believers by saying:

وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ قَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَهُمْ لَا يَسْمَعُونَ

And do not be like those who say, “We have heard,” while they do not hear. [8:21]

Commenting on this ayah in his book of tafsir, Imam al-Qurtubi wrote:

قوله تعالى : ولا تكونوا كالذين قالوا سمعنا أي كاليهود أو المنافقين أو المشركين . وهو من سماع الأذن . وهم لا يسمعون أي لا يتدبرون ما سمعوا ، ولا يفكرون فيه ، فهم بمنزلة من لم يسمع وأعرض عن الحق . نهى المؤمنين أن يكونوا مثلهم . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ قَالُوا سَمِعْنَا

And do not be like those who say, “We have heard…” [8:21]

such as the Jews, the Munaafiqoon [hypocrites], and the Mushrikoon [polytheists]. And this is referring to the literal hearing of one’s ears. They are those who do not hear – meaning: they do not consider or reflect on what they have heard. So these ones are just like those who did not hear (at all) and who turn away from the truth. Allah prohibited the believer from being like them.

Continue reading

“If you have taqwa of Allah, He will grant you a Furqan”: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

In surah al-Anfal, Allah addresses His believing servants by saying:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن تَتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ يَجْعَل لَّكُمْ فُرْ‌قَانًا وَيُكَفِّرْ‌ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ‌ لَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ

O you who have believed, if you have taqwa of Allah, He will grant you a furqan [criterion] and will remove from you your misdeeds and forgive you. And Allah is the possessor of great bounty. [8:29]

Commenting on this ayah in his well-known book of tafsir, sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following:

قال ابن عباس ، والسدي ، ومجاهد ، وعكرمة ، والضحاك ، وقتادة ، ومقاتل بن حيان ، وغير واحد : فرقانا : مخرجا ، زاد مجاهد : في الدنيا والآخرة ، وفي رواية عن ابن عباس : فرقانا : نجاة ، وفي رواية عنه : نصرا . وقال محمد بن إسحاق : فرقانا أي : فصلا بين الحق والباطل ، قاله ابن كثير . ـ

Ibn ‘Abbaas, al-Suddi, Mujaahid, ‘Ikrimah, al-Dhahhaak, Qataadah, Muqaatil ibn Hayyaan, and others all said: Furqan means, “a way out”. And Mujaahid added to this “in this worldly life and in the hereafter.”

And in what was narrated from ibn ‘Abbaas: Furqan means, “salvation”. And in another narration from him, “aid”.

And Muhammad ibn Ishaaq said: Furqan, meaning a means of distinguishing between the truth and falsehood.

All of the above is what ibn Kathir said [see Tafsir ibn Kathir 4/43-44].

قال مقيده عفا الله عنه : قول الجماعة المذكورة : إن المراد بالفرقان : المخرج يشهد له قوله تعالى : ومن يتق الله يجعل له مخرجا الآية [ 65 \ 2 ] ، والقول بأنه النجاة أو النصر ، راجع في المعنى إلى هذا ; لأن من جعل الله له مخرجا أنجاه ونصره ، لكن الذي يدل القرآن واللغة على صحته في تفسير الآية المذكورة هو قول ابن إسحاق ; لأن الفرقان مصدر زيدت فيه الألف والنون ، وأريد به الوصف أي الفارق بين الحق والباطل ، وذلك هو معناه في قوله : تبارك الذي نزل الفرقان [ 25 \ 1 ] ، أي الكتاب الفارق بين الحق والباطل ، وقوله : وأنزل الفرقان [ 3 \ 4 ] ، وقوله : وإذ آتينا موسى الكتاب والفرقان [ 2 \ 53 ] ، وقوله : ولقد آتينا موسى وهارون الفرقان [ 21 \ 48 ] ، ويدل على أن المراد بالفرقان هنا : العلم الفارق بين الحق والباطل ، قوله تعالى في الحديد : ياأيها الذين آمنوا اتقوا الله وآمنوا برسوله يؤتكم كفلين من رحمته ويجعل لكم نورا تمشون به ويغفر لكم الآية [ 57 \ 28 ] . ـ

And the following is my speech: Continue reading

4 of the rewards of al-Taqwa: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah addressed his believing slaves in surah al-Anfaal when He says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ تَتَّقُوا اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ فُرْقَانًا وَيُكَفِّرْ عَنْكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ‏‏

O you who have believed, if you fear Allah , He will grant you a furqan [criterion] and will remove from you your misdeeds and forgive you. And Allah is the possessor of great bounty. [8:29]

In his book of tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote the following about this ayah:

امتثال العبد لتقوى ربه عنوان السعادة، وعلامة الفلاح، وقد رتب اللّه على التقوى من خير الدنيا والآخرة شيئا كثيرا،فذكر هنا أن من اتقى اللّه حصل له أربعة أشياء، كل واحد منها خير من الدنيا وما فيها‏:‏

The slave’s adherence to having taqwa of his Lord is the epitome of ultimate joy, and a marker of success. And Allah has caused an abundance of good things in both this life and in the hereafter to follow from having al-taqwa, and here that whoever has taqwa of Allah, then that will bring about these four things, each of which being a source of good in this worldly life and what it contains:

الأول‏:‏ الفرقان‏:‏ وهو العلم والهدى الذي يفرق به صاحبه بين الهدى والضلال، والحق والباطل، والحلال والحرام، وأهل السعادة من أهل الشقاوة‏.‏

Firstly: al-Furqan, and that is knowledge and guidance by which its possessors can distinguish between guidance and and misguidance, between the truth and falsehood, between the halaal and haraam, and between the people of ultimate joy and the people of ultimate misery.

الثاني والثالث‏:‏ تكفير السيئات، ومغفرة الذنوب، وكل واحد منهما داخل في الآخر عند الإطلاق وعند الاجتماع يفسر تكفير السيئات بالذنوب الصغائر، ومغفرة الذنوب بتكفير الكبائر‏.‏

Secondly and thirdly: The expiation of sins, and forgiveness of sins. Each of these is included in the other when they are mentioned independently, however when they are mentioned together, the expiation of sins is explained as referring to minor sins, while the forgiveness of sins refers to the annulment of major sins.

الرابع‏:‏ الأجر العظيم والثواب الجزيل لمن اتقاه وآثر رضاه على هوى نفسه‏.‏ ‏{‏وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ‏}‏

Fourthly: The great recompense and wonderful reward for those have had taqwa of Him and prioritized His pleasure over their own desires.

‏وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ‏

And Allah is the possessor of great bounty

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 362]

For another explanation of this same ayah, see also: “If you have taqwa of Allah, He will grant you a Furqan”: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

For further explanation of this ayah, see the comments of Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen – a student of Imam al-Sa’di – here: 3 benefits that are a result of having Taqwa -Shaykh ibn al-’Uthaymeen

See also: “And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: The outcomes of Taqwa and truthful speech: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Four Means of Attaining Allah’s Forgiveness: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: Allah legislated the religion for His remembrance: Imam al-Sa’di