The Forbidden Foods in Surah al-Nahl: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says towards the end of surah al-Nahl:

فَكُلُوا مِمَّا رَ‌زَقَكُمُ اللَّـهُ حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا وَاشْكُرُ‌وا نِعْمَتَ اللَّـهِ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ * إِنَّمَا حَرَّ‌مَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةَ وَالدَّمَ وَلَحْمَ الْخِنزِيرِ‌ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ‌ اللَّـهِ بِهِ ۖ فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ‌ غَيْرَ‌ بَاغٍ وَلَا عَادٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ‌ رَّ‌حِيمٌ * وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَا تَصِفُ أَلْسِنَتُكُمُ الْكَذِبَ هَـٰذَا حَلَالٌ وَهَـٰذَا حَرَ‌امٌ لِّتَفْتَرُ‌وا عَلَى اللَّـهِ الْكَذِبَ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُ‌ونَ عَلَى اللَّـهِ الْكَذِبَ لَا يُفْلِحُونَ * مَتَاعٌ قَلِيلٌ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ * وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ هَادُوا حَرَّ‌مْنَا مَا قَصَصْنَا عَلَيْكَ مِن قَبْلُ ۖ وَمَا ظَلَمْنَاهُمْ وَلَـٰكِن كَانُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ

So eat of the lawful and good food which Allah has provided for you. And be grateful for the Graces of Allah, if it is He Whom you worship. * He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced, without desire nor trangression – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. * And do not say about what your tongues assert of untruth, “This is lawful and this is unlawful,” to invent falsehood about Allah. Indeed, those who invent falsehood about Allah will not succeed. * A brief enjoyment, and they will have a painful punishment. * And to those who are Jews We have prohibited that which We related to you before. And We did not wrong them [thereby], but they were wronging themselves. [16:114-118]

Commenting on these ayaat in his book of tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

يأمر تعالى عباده بأكل ما رزقهم الله من الحيوانات والحبوب والثمار وغيرها. { حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا } أي: حالة كونها متصفة بهذين الوصفين بحيث لا تكون مما حرم الله أو أثرا عن غصب ونحوه. فتمتعوا بما خلق الله لكم من غير إسراف ولا تَعَدٍّ. { وَاشْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ } بالاعتراف بها بالقلب والثناء على الله بها وصرفها في طاعة الله. { إِنْ كُنْتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ } أي إن كنتم مخلصين له العبادة، فلا تشكروا إلا إياه، ولا تنسوا المنعم. ـ

Allah is commanding His slaves to eat of the animals, produce, and other things which He has provided for them.

حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا

Lawful and good

meaning: in a state characterized by these two attributes, such that they do not fall under what Allah has forbidden nor were obtained by forced coercion or other similar methods. So they enjoy what Allah has created for them without wastefulness or infringing on the rights of others.

وَاشْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ

And be grateful for the blessings of Allah

by recognizing them with one’s heart, praising Allah for them, and using them for obedience to Allah.

إِنْ كُنْتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ

If it is He Whom you worship.

meaning: if you are really sincerely devoted to Him in worship, then do not thank anyone other than Him and do not forget the Granter of blessings.

 ـ { إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ } الأشياء المضرة تنزيها لكم، وذلك: كـ { الْمَيْتَةَ } ويدخل في ذلك كل ما كان موته على غير ذكاة مشروعة، ويستثنى من ذلك ميتة الجراد والسمك. ـ

إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ

He has only forbidden to you

the things which are harmful, in order to keep you safe from them, and these are the likes of

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Sabr is only from Allah: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah says towards the end of surah al-Nahl:

وَاصْبِرْ‌ وَمَا صَبْرُ‌كَ إِلَّا بِاللَّـهِ ۚ وَلَا تَحْزَنْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا تَكُ فِي ضَيْقٍ مِّمَّا يَمْكُرُ‌ونَ

And exercise sabr, [O Muhammad], and your sabr is not but through Allah. And do not grieve over them and do not be in distress over what they conspire. [16:127]

Briefly commenting on this ayah in his book of tafsir, Imam Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote:

قوله تعالى : واصبر وما صبرك إلا بالله الآية [ 16 \ 127 ] . ذكر – جل وعلا – في هذه الآية الكريمة : أنه – صلى الله عليه وسلم – مأمور بالصبر ، وأنه لا يمتثل ذلك الأمر بالصبر إلا بإعانة الله وتوفيقه ; لقوله : وما صبرك إلا بالله الآية [ 16 \ 127 ] ،  ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَاصْبِرْ‌ وَمَا صَبْرُ‌كَ إِلَّا بِاللَّـهِ

And exercise sabr, [O Muhammad], and your sabr is not but through Allah

In this noble ayah Allah mentioned that the Prophet (ﷺ) was commanded to have al-sabr [steadfast patience], and that he could not comply with the command to exercise sabr without Allah’s aid and granting of success. This is according to His statement: Continue reading

And We gave Ibrahim good in this life: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

In the end of surah al-Nahl, Allah describes Ibrahim with a number of attributes, including:

وَآتَيْنَاهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً

And We gave him good in this worldly life [16:122]

The scholars of tafsir have offered a number of different opinions to as what this is referring to. Ibn al-Jawzi summarized these opinions in his tafsir by writing:

قوله تعالى : ” وآتيناه في الدنيا حسنة ” فيها ستة أقوال : أحدها : أنها الذكر الحسن ، قاله ابن عباس . والثاني : النبوة ، قاله الحسن . والثالث : لسان صدق ، قاله مجاهد . والرابع : اجتماع الملل على ولايته ، فكلهم يتولونه ويرضونه ، قاله قتادة . والخامس : أنها الصلاة عليه مقرونة بالصلاة على محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم ، قاله مقاتل بن حيان . والسادس : الأولاد الأبرار على الكبر ، حكاه الثعلبي . ـ

There are six different opinions regarding Allah’s statement, “And We gave him good in this worldly life“.

1) That this means a good mention, and this was the opinion of ibn ‘Abbaas.

2) Prophethood, which was the opinion of al-Hasan.

3) Truthful speech, which was the opinion of Mujaahid. Continue reading

Two of the Wisdoms for Revealing the Qur’an to the Prophet: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Imam Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote in his tafsir of surah al-Nahl:

قوله تعالى : وأنزلنا إليك الذكر لتبين للناس ما نزل إليهم ولعلهم يتفكرون ، المراد بالذكر في هذه الآية : القرآن ; كقوله : إنا نحن نزلنا الذكر وإنا له لحافظون [ 15 \ 9 ] . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ‌ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُ‌ونَ

And We revealed to you (O Muhammad) the dhikr that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might give thought. [16:44]

The intended meaning of al-dhikr in this ayah is the Qur’an, just as in His statement:

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ‌ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian. [9:15]

وقد ذكر – جل وعلا – في هذه الآية حكمتين من حكم إنزال القرآن على النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – : ـ

And in this ayah Allah mentioned two wisdoms from among the wisdoms of revealing the Qur’an to His prophet (ﷺ): Continue reading

The two types of ‘with-ness’ of Allah: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah informs us in surah al-Nahl:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوا وَّالَّذِينَ هُم مُّحْسِنُونَ

Indeed, Allah is with those who have taqwa of Him and those who are doers of good. [16:128]

Commenting on this in his tafsir, Imam Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote:

قوله تعالى : إن الله مع الذين اتقوا والذين هم محسنون ، ذكر – جل وعلا – في هذه الآية الكريمة : أنه مع عباده المتقين المحسنين ، وقد تقدم إيضاح معنى التقوى و الإحسان . ـ

Allah’s statement:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوا وَّالَّذِينَ هُم مُّحْسِنُونَ

Indeed, Allah is with those who have taqwa of Him and those who are doers of good.

He mentioned in this noble ayah that He is with His god-fearing and good-doing slaves, and the clarification of the meaning of taqwa and al-ihsaan has already preceded this.

وهذه المعية بعباده المؤمنين ، وهي بالإعانة والنصر والتوفيق . وكرر هذا المعنى في مواضع أخر ; كقوله : إنني معكما أسمع وأرى [ 20 \ 46 ] ، وقوله : إذ يوحي ربك إلى الملائكة أني معكم [ 8 \ 12 ] ، وقوله : لا تحزن إن الله معنا [ 9 \ 40 ] ، وقوله : قال كلا إن معي ربي سيهدين [ 26 \ 62 ] ، إلى غير ذلك من الآيات . ـ

And this “with-ness” with His believing slaves is by means of aid, support and granting success, and this meaning is reiterated in many other places, such as His statement: Continue reading

The Good Life, and how to get it: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah says in surah al-Nahl:

مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِنْ ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنْثَى وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُمْ بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

“Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward according to the best of what they used to do.” [16:97]

Imam ibn Kathir, in his famous book of tafsir explains:

هذا وعد من الله تعالى لمن عمل صالحا- وهو العمل المتابع لكتاب الله تعالى وسنة نبيه من ذكر أو أنثى من بني آدم، وقلبه مؤمن بالله ورسوله، وإن هذا العمل المأمور به مشروع من عند الله- بأن يحييه الله حياة طيبة في الدنيا وأن يجزيه بأحسن ما عمله في الدار الآخرة.

“This is a promise from Allah to whoever does righteous deeds – which are actions in accordance with the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet – whether the doer be male of female from the Children of Adam – and his/her heart is a believer in Allah and His Messenger – and so long as these deeds are from Allah’s Divinely Legislated commands, then this is a promise that Allah cause him to live a good life in this dunya  and that He will reward him in the next life according to the best of what he/she used to do.


والحياة الطيبة تشمل وجوه الراحة من أي جهة كانت. وقد روي عن ابن عباس وجماعة أنهم فسروها بالرزق الحلال الطيب


“And the good life includes all sorts of comforts/ease. And it has been narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas and a group of exegetes that they explained it as good and lawful provisions.”

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 4/601]

See also: “Whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray nor suffer”: Tafsir of Sheikh bin Baaz

“He made for you hearing and vision and intellect in order for you to be grateful”

Allah informs us in His Book:

وَاللَّـهُ أَخْرَ‌جَكُم مِّن بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ‌ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ ۙ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُ‌ونَ

“And Allah has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision and intellect in order for you to be grateful.” [16:78]

Imam al-Sa’di writes in explanation of this ayah in his tafsir:

أي‏:‏ هو المنفرد بهذه النعم حيث ‏{‏أَخْرَجَكُمْ مِنْ بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا‏}‏ ولا تقدرون على شيء ثم إنه ‏{‏جَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ‏}‏ خص هذه الأعضاء الثلاثة، لشرفها وفضلها ولأنها مفتاح لكل علم، فلا وصل للعبد علم إلا من أحد هذه الأبواب الثلاثة وإلا فسائر الأعضاء والقوى الظاهرة والباطنة هو الذي أعطاهم إياها، وجعل ينميها فيهم شيئا فشيئا إلى أن يصل كل أحد إلى الحالة اللائقة به، وذلك لأجل أن يشكروا الله، باستعمال ما أعطاهم من هذه الجوارح في طاعة الله، فمن استعملها في غير ذلك كانت حجة عليه وقابل النعمة بأقبح المقابلة‏.‏

Meaning: He is the exclusive and sole provider of this blessing when “[He] extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing” and not being able to do anything, then He “made for you hearing and vision and intellect“. And He singled out these there faculties, in order to honor them and favor them because they are the keys to all knowledge, so the slave does not attain knowledge except through one of these three doors, and except through the remaining the limbs and capacity – both openly and secretly: He [alone] is the one who gives that to them. And He made them grow little by little until they reached their proper state, and that is in order for them to be grateful to Allah, by using what he has given them of these faculties in the obedience of Allah. For whoever uses them for other than that, it is a hujjah (proof) against him and he is one who accepts a blessing with the ugliest of acceptances. 

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman]

See also: “Work, O family of Dawood, in gratitude”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Human nature: Tafsir al-Sa’di

The Good Life

Allaah says in His Book:

 مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِّن ذَكَرٍ‌ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً ۖ وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَ‌هُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

“And whoever works righteous deeds- whether male or female- and is a believer, then We will cause him to live a good life. And We will reward them according to the best of what they used to do.” [Al-Qur’an 16:97]

Imam al-Sa’di wrote in his tafsir:

“So whoever combines faith and righteous deeds, ‘then We will cause him to live a good life’. And that is tranquility in the heart, and stillness in his self, and that there will not be a gesture to disturb his heart. And Allaah provides a halaal and good provision, from where one does not expect. ‘And We will reward them’ – in the hereafter – ‘according to the best of what they used to do’ from His various delights, from what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no heart has conceived of. And Allaah grants good in this life, and grants good in the hereafter.”

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman]

See also: The Good life, and how to get it: Tafsir ibn Kathir