A Subtle Point in Surah al-Nisaa’: Tafsir al-Shawkani

In the middle of surah al-Nisaa’, Allah describes a number of the deeds meriting punishment, the qualities of those who call to and partake in these deeds and their ultimate destination [4:115-121] before describing the people of al-Jannah and their qualities and then mentioning:

وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ دِينًا مِّمَّنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُ لِلَّـهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ وَاتَّبَعَ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۗ وَاتَّخَذَ اللَّـهُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ خَلِيلًا

And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth? And Allah took Abraham as an intimate friend. [4:125]

Allah then follows that ayah up immediately by seeming to turn to a new subject:

وَلِلَّـهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُّحِيطًا

And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And ever is Allah, of all things, encompassing. [4:126]

Before then turning to yet another subject in the very next ayah, beginning with:

وَيَسْتَفْتُونَكَ فِي النِّسَاءِ

And they ask you [O Muhammad] for a legal verdict regarding the women … [4:127]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Shawkaani points out a subtle connection between ayahs 125 and 126 in his tafsir where he wrote:

ولله ما في السماوات وما في الأرض فيه إشارة إلى أنه سبحانه اتخذ إبراهيم خليلا لطاعته لا لحاجته ولا للتكثر به والاعتضاد بمخاللته وكان الله بكل شيء محيطا هذه الجملة مقررة لمعنى الجملة التي قبلها ؛ أي : أحاط علمه بكل شيء لا يغادر صغيرة ولا كبيرة إلا أحصاها [ الكهف : 49 ] ـ

وَلِلَّـهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ

And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth.

This indicates that Allah took Ibrahim as a close friend due to his obedience, not due to any need of him or to increase His ranks or gain any support from his friendship. Continue reading

“Niyyah” in the Qur’an: ibn Rajab

In part of his celebrated and exhaustive commentary on al-Arba’een al-Nawawi, al-haafidh ibn Rajab al-Hanbali mentioned the following important points regarding the one’s intention for worship and how this is discussed in the Qur’an:

واعلم أن النية في اللغة نوع من القصد والإرادة وإن كان قد فرق بين هذه الألفاظ بما ليس هذا موضع ذكره. ـ

You should know that the word “niyyah” linguistically refers to a type of intention or desire even if one could further delineate these terms, but now is not the time to go into that.

والنية في كلام العلماء تقع بمعنيين: ـ

When the scholars talk about niyyah it can have one of two meanings:

أحدهما: تمييز العبادات بعضها عن بعض كتمييز صلاة الظهر من صلاة العصر مثلًا وتمييز رمضان من صيام غيره أو تمييز العبادات من العادات كتمييز الغسل من الجنابة من غسل التبرد والتنظيف ونحو ذلك وهذه النية هي التي توجد كثيرًا في كلام الفقهاء في كتبهم. ـ

First: Distinguishing different acts of worship from one another, such as differentiating between the Thuhr prayer and the ‘Asr prayer or between fasting during Ramadan and fasting outside of it, or distinguishing an act of worship from an act of habit such as differentiating between a ghusl one takes to remove ritual impurity verses a bath one takes to cool off or wash up or the likes. It is this usage of the word “niyyah” that you will find most commonly in the speech and writings of the scholars of fiqh.

والمعنى الثاني: بمعنى تمييز المقصود بالعمل وهل هو لله وحده لا شريك له أم غيره أم لله وغيره وهذه هي النية التي يتكلم فيها العارفون في كتبهم في كلامهم على الإخلاص وتوابعه وهي التي توجد كثيرًا في كلام السلف المتقدمين . ـ

Second: That it comes with the meaning of distinguishing the intention behind one’s action: is it for Allah alone with not partners, or is it someone other than Allah, or for Allah and someone else simultaneously? This is the niyyah that those devoted to worship speak about in their writings and speeches, referring to ikhlaas and what accompanies that, and this is the usage of the word that you will find most commonly in the speech of the early generations of the salaf.

وقد صنف أبو بكر بن أبي الدنيا مصنفًا سماه كتاب الإخلاص والنية وإنما أراد هذه النية وهي النية التي يتكرر ذكرها في كلام النبي ﷺ تارة بلفظ النية وتارة بلفظ الإرادة وتارة بلفظ مقارب لذلك. ـ

Abu Bakr ibn Abi’l-Dunya wrote a book entitled Kitaab al-Ikhlaas wa’l-Niyyah which is strictly dealing with this second meaning of the word “niyyah“. This is the niyyah that is frequently referred to in the sayings of the Prophet, sometimes being referred to by the word “niyyah” itself, other times being referred to by the word “al-iraadah” – “want/desire” – and other times with other words of close meaning.

وقد جاء ذكرها كثيرًا في كتاب الله عز وجل بغير لفظ النية أيضًا من الألفاظ المقاربة لها… ـ

And this second meaning is also frequently mentioned in the Qur’an but without using the word “niyyah” itself and instead using other closely-related words …

Continue reading

“O Mankind, a Proof Has Come to You From Your Lord”: Tafsir al-Tabari

In the last part of surah al-Nisaa’, Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَكُم بُرْهَانٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ نُورًا مُّبِينًا

O mankind, a proof has come to you from your Lord and We have sent down a clear light to you. [4:174]

Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari began his tafsir of this ayah by summarizing the meaning as follows:

قال أبو جعفر : يعني جل ثناؤه بقوله : ” يا أيها الناس قد جاءكم برهان من ربكم ” ، يا أيها الناس من جميع أصناف الملل ، يهودها ونصاراها ومشركيها ، الذين قص الله جل ثناؤه قصصهم في هذه السورة” قد جاءكم برهان من ربكم ” ، يقول : قد جاءتكم حجة من الله تبرهن لكم بطول ما أنتم عليه مقيمون من أديانكم ومللكم ، وهو محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم ، الذي جعله الله عليكم حجة قطع بها [ ص: 428 ] عذركم ، وأبلغ إليكم في المعذرة بإرساله إليكم ، مع تعريفه إياكم صحة نبوته ، وتحقيق رسالته” وأنزلنا إليكم نورا مبينا ” ، يقول : وأنزلنا إليكم معه”نورا مبينا” ، يعني : يبين لكم المحجة الواضحة ، والسبل الهادية إلى ما فيه لكم النجاة من عذاب الله وأليم عقابه ، إن سلكتموها واستنرتم بضوئه . وذلك”النور المبين” ، هو القرآن الذي أنزله الله على محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم .ـ

I, Abu Ja’far, say: What Allah means by:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَكُم بُرْهَانٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ

O mankind, a proof has come to you from your Lord

is: O people of every different kind of religion – Jewish, Christian, polytheist – whose stories Allah has mentioned in this surah

قَدْ جَاءَكُم بُرْهَانٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ

… a proof has come to you from your Lord … Continue reading

How the Prophet Lived with His Wives: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In the midst of legal rulings related to marriage in surah al-Nisaa’, Allah commands the believing to treat their wives well by saying:

وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

… and live with them honorably … [4:19]

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir wrote a brief but beautiful commentary on this phrase in his tafsir:

وَقَوْلُهُ : ( وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ) أَيْ : طَيِّبُوا أَقْوَالَكُمْ لَهُنَّ ، وَحَسِّنُوا أَفْعَالَكُمْ وَهَيْئَاتِكُمْ بِحَسَبِ قُدْرَتِكُمْ ، كَمَا تُحِبُّ ذَلِكَ مِنْهَا ، فَافْعَلْ أَنْتَ بِهَا مِثْلَهُ ، كَمَا قَالَ تَعَالَى : ( وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ) [ الْبَقَرَةِ : 228 ] وَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ” خَيْرُكُمْ خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِهِ ، وَأَنَا خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِي ” وَكَانَ مِنْ أَخْلَاقِهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَّهُ جَمِيلُ الْعِشْرَةِ دَائِمُ الْبِشْرِ ، يُدَاعِبُ أَهْلَهُ ، وَيَتَلَطَّفُ بِهِمْ ، ويُوسِعُهُمْ نَفَقَتَهُ ، وَيُضَاحِكُ نِسَاءَهُ ، حَتَّى إِنَّهُ كَانَ يُسَابِقُ عَائِشَةَ أُمَّ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَتَوَدَّدُ إِلَيْهَا بِذَلِكَ . قَالَتْ : سَابَقَنِي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَسَبَقْتُهُ ، وَذَلِكَ قَبْلَ أَنْ أَحْمِلَ اللَّحْمَ ، ثُمَّ سَابَقْتُهُ بَعْدَ مَا حَمَلْتُ اللَّحْمَ فَسَبَقَنِي ، فَقَالَ : ” هَذِهِ بِتِلْكَ ” وَيَجْتَمِعُ نِسَاؤُهُ كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ فِي بَيْتِ الَّتِي يَبِيتُ عِنْدَهَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، فَيَأْكُلُ مَعَهُنَّ الْعَشَاءَ فِي بَعْضِ الْأَحْيَانِ ، ثُمَّ تَنْصَرِفُ كُلُّ وَاحِدَةٍ إِلَى مَنْزِلِهَا . وَكَانَ يَنَامُ مَعَ الْمَرْأَةِ مِنْ نِسَائِهِ فِي شِعَارٍ وَاحِدٍ ، يَضَعُ عَنْ كَتِفَيْهِ الرِّدَاءَ وَيَنَامُ بِالْإِزَارِ ، وَكَانَ إِذَا صَلَّى الْعِشَاءَ يَدْخُلُ مَنْزِلَهُ يَسْمُرُ مَعَ أَهْلِهِ قَلِيلًا قَبْلَ أَنْ يَنَامَ ، يُؤَانِسُهُمْ بِذَلِكَ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَقَدْ قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى : ( لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ ) [ الْأَحْزَابِ : 21 ] . وَأَحْكَامُ عِشْرَةِ النِّسَاءِ وَمَا يَتَعَلَّقُ بِتَفْصِيلِ ذَلِكَ مَوْضِعُهُ كِتَابُ ” الْأَحْكَامِ ” ، وَلِلَّهِ الْحَمْدُ . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

… and live with them honorably …

that is: beautify your speech, actions and manners towards them to the best of your ability. Just as you would like for them to do that towards you, then do that towards them. This is as Allah said:

وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

… and women have rights over their husbands similar to the rights their husbands have over them … [2:228]

and Allah’s Messenger said: Continue reading

Sabab al-Nuzool Study: “And Do Not Wish for …”

What follows is an excerpt from the book al-Muharrar fee Asbaab Nuzool al-Qur’an by Dr. Khalid al-Muzayni, an academic text dealing with the circumstances behind the revelation of certain ayaat:

وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۚ لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبُوا ۖ وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبْنَ ۚ وَاسْأَلُوا اللَّـهَ مِن فَضْلِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا

And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you to excel others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask Allah of His bounty. Surely, Allah is Ever All-Knower of everything. [4:32]

سبب النزول : أخرج الامام أحمد والترمذي عَنْ أُمِّ سَلَمَةَ، أَنَّهَا قَالَتْ يا رسول الله يَغْزُو الرِّجَالُ وَلاَ يَغْزُو النِّسَاءُ وَلَنَا نِصْفُ الْمِيرَاثِ ‏.‏ فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ : وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ

The Circumstance of Revelation: Imam Ahmad and al-Tirmidhi both report from Umm Salamah that she said, “O Messenger of Allah, the men go to battle while the women do not go to battle, and we received half of the inheritance.” So Allah revealed:

وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ

And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you to excel others.

دراسة السبب : هكذ جاء في سبب نزول هذه الاية وقد أورد جمهور المفسرين هذا الحديث عند التفسير الاية الكريمة منهم الطبري والبغوي وابن العربي وابن عطية والقرطبي وابن كثير وابن عاشور. ـ

Study of This Report: This is the sabab al-nuzool – circumstance of revelation – that has been mentioned for this ayah, and the majority of the mufassiroon have mentioned this hadeeth in their tafsir of this ayah, including al-Tabari, al-Baghawi, ibn al-‘Arabi, ibn ‘Atiyyah, al-Qurtubi, ibn Kathir, and ibn ‘Aashoor.

وقد تبين بدراسة السند ضعيف الحديث إلى أم سلمة – وأن الصواب فيه أنه من مراسيل مجاهد ولأجل شهرته ذكره المفسرون قال الطبري : ( وذكر أن ذلك نـزل في نساءٍ تمنين منازلَ الرجال، وأن يكون لهم ما لهم، فنهى الله عباده عن الأماني الباطلة، وأمرهم أن يسألوه من فضله، إذ كانت الأمانيّ تورِث أهلها الحسد والبغي بغير الحق. ) اهـ

Upon examining this report, it becomes clear that its chain of narration connecting it back to Umm Salamah is weak, and that the correct grading is that it is a disconnected narration going back only to Mujahid, but it was still mentioned by the mufassiroon due to how well-known it is. Continue reading

Whoever Does Any Part of Righteous Deeds …: Tafsir al-Tabari

Allah says in surah al-Nisaa’:

وَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِنَ الصَّالِحَاتِ مِن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَا يُظْلَمُونَ نَقِيرًا

And whoever does any part of righteous deeds, whether male or female, while being a believer – those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged even a speck on a date seed. [4:124]

In part of his commentary on this ayah, Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari wrote:

فإن قال لنا قائل: ما وجه دخول: ” مِن ” في قوله: ” ومن يعمل من الصالحات “، ولم يقل: ” ومن يعمل الصالحات “؟ قيل: لدخولها وجهان: ـ

Someone might ask: Why is the phrase “any part of” included in “any part of righteous deeds” rather than just saying “and whoever does righteous deeds”?

In that case, we would respond by saying: there are two reasons why it is included.

أحدهما: أن يكون الله قد علم أن عبادَه المؤمنين لن يُطيقوا أن يعملوا جميع الأعمال الصالحات، فأوجب وَعده لمن عمل ما أطاق منها، ولم يحرمه من فضله بسبب ما عجزتْ عن عمله منها قوّته. ـ

Firstly, Allah knows that His believing slaves will never be able do all of the righteous good deeds. He therefore made His promise apply to those who perform the good deeds within their capacity without depriving anyone of His bounty due to a lack of ability to perform those deeds. Continue reading

Those Who Do Evil Out of Ignorance and Then Repent Soon Afterwards: Tafsir al-Baghawi

Allah says in surah al-Nisaa’:

إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّـهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِمْ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا * وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبْتُ الْآنَ وَلَا الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا

The only repentance in Allah’s sight is for those who do evil out of ignorance and then repent soon afterwards; it is they to whom Allah will turn in forgiveness. And Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise. * And there is no repentance for those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says, “Now I repent;” nor for those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment. [4:17-18]

In his famous book of tafsir, Imam al-Baghawi commented on this by writing:

قوله تعالى : ( إنما التوبة على الله ) قال الحسن : يعني التوبة التي يقبلها ، فيكون على بمعنى عند ، وقيل : من الله ، ( للذين يعملون السوء بجهالة ) قال قتادة : أجمع أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم على أن كل ما عصي به الله فهو جهالة عمدا كان أو لم يكن ، وكل من عصى الله فهو جاهل . وقال مجاهد : المراد من الآية : العمد ، قال الكلبي : لم يجهل أنه ذنب لكنه جهل عقوبته ، وقيل : معنى الجهالة : اختيارهم اللذة الفانية على اللذة الباقية . ـ

Allah’s statement:

إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّـهِ

The only repentance in Allah’s sight …

al-Hasan said, “i.e. the repentance that He accepts. So the word ‘alaa here is used with the meaning of ‘inda.” And others have said that the word ‘alaa is used with the meaning of min.

لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ

… is for those who do evil out of ignorance …

Qatadah said, “The Companions of Allah’s Messenger were all in agreement that anything done in disobedience to Allah is ignorance regardless of whether it is done intentionally or not, and that everyone who disobeys Allah is ignorant.” Continue reading

Assorted Qur’an Benefits #21

What follows is a collection of benefits originally posted on our Facebook page and Telegram Channel in the first part of December 2017:

♦ Ibn Kathir’s Approach to the Qiraa’aat in his Tafsir

The great mufassir al-haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir explained the approach he took in his tafsir towards linguistic discussion and the qiraa’aat by writing:

 وفي جبريل وميكائيل لغات وقراءات ، تذكر في كتب اللغة والقراءات ، ولم نطول كتابنا هذا بسرد ذلك إلا أن يدور فهم المعنى عليه ، أو يرجع الحكم في ذلك إليه ، وبالله الثقة ، وهو المستعان . ـ

Regarding the words “Jibreel” and “Meekaa’eel” [c.f. 2:98], there are a number of linguistic issues and different recitations which are mentioned in the books of language and qiraa’aat. But we will not elongate this book of ours by going through these topics unless the meaning of an ayah centers around that or unless a legal ruling related to an ayah hinges on one of those things. In Allah do we place our trust, and it is from Him that we seek aid.”

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 1/343]


♦ Continuing Rewards

Allah says in surah al-Tin:

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ * ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ * إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ

We have certainly created man in the best form * then we return him to the lowest of the low * Except for those who believe and do righteous good deeds – for them there is a reward without interruption [95:4-6]

Commenting on these latter two ayaat in his book of tafsir, ibn al-Jawzi wrote:

 وقال النخعي: إذا بلغ المؤمن من الكبر ما يعجز عن العمل كتب له ما كان يعمل، وهو قوله تعالى: فلهم أجر غير ممنون وقال ابن قتيبة: المعنى: إلا الذين آمنوا في وقت القوة والقدرة، فإنهم حال الكبر غير منقوصين وإن عجزوا عن الطاعات، لأن الله تعالى علم أنهم لو لم يسلبهم القوة لم ينقطعوا عن أفعال الخير، فهو يجري لهم أجر ذلك . ـ

Ibrahim al-Nakaa’i said: When a believer reaches old age and is no longer able to perform good deeds, what he used to do will continue to be written for him. This is as Allah says, “For them there is a reward without interruption”. Continue reading

The Arrangement of the First Five Surahs of the Qur’an: al-Suyooti

In part of his discussion the munasabat – the connections between ayaat and surahs – in his famous handbook on the Qur’anic sciences, Imam Jalal al-Deen al-Suyooti included the following passage. It mentions the links between the first five surahs of the Qur’an as well as some of the main themes found in each:

ـ [ ص: 226 ] قال بعض الأئمة : وسورة الفاتحة تضمنت الإقرار بالربوبية والالتجاء إليه في دين الإسلام ، والصيانة عن دين اليهودية والنصرانية . ـ

○ Some scholars have said: Surah al-Fatihah is comprised of 1) affirming Allah’s lordship, 2) seeking refuge with Him in the religion of Islam, and 3) protection against the Jewish and Christian religions.*

وسورة البقرة : تضمنت قواعد الدين . ـ

Surah al-Baqarah is comprised of the foundations of this religion.

وآل عمران : مكملة لمقصودها ، فالبقرة بمنزلة إقامة الدليل على الحكم وآل عمران بمنزلة الجواب عن شبهات الخصوم ، ولهذا ورد فيها ذكر المتشابه لما تمسك به النصارى ، وأوجب الحج في آل عمران ، وأما في البقرة فذكر أنه مشروع وأمر بإتمامه بعد الشروع فيه . ـ

○ Aal ‘Imran is the completion of al-Baqarah‘s aim. al-Baqarah was like the a presentation of the evidence for a ruling while Aal ‘Imran is like a response to the doubts brought up by a contentious listener. It is for this reason that Aal ‘Imran mentioned many doubtful matters that the Christians cling to. Also, the Hajj was made mandatory in Aal ‘Imran [c.f. 3:97] while in al-Baqarah it was only mentioned as being legislated. So He commanded them to perform it in a complete way after they had embarked upon it. Continue reading

The Qur’an is Free of Contradictions: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah says in surah al-Nisaa’:

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ ۚ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِندِ غَيْرِ اللَّـهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا

Do they not then consider the Quran carefully? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found many contradictions therein. [4:82]

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir began his tafsir of this ayah by writing:

يقول تعالى آمرا عباده بتدبر القرآن ، وناهيا لهم عن الإعراض عنه ، وعن تفهم معانيه المحكمة وألفاظه البليغة ، ومخبرا لهم أنه لا اختلاف فيه ولا اضطراب ، ولا تضاد ولا تعارض ; لأنه تنزيل من حكيم حميد ، فهو حق من حق ; ولهذا قال تعالى : ( أفلا يتدبرون القرآن [ أم على قلوب أقفالها ] ) [ محمد : 24 ] ثم قال : ( ولو كان من عند غير الله ) أي : لو كان مفتعلا مختلقا ، كما يقوله من يقوله من جهلة المشركين والمنافقين في بواطنهم ( لوجدوا فيه اختلافا كثيرا ) أي : اضطرابا وتضادا كثيرا . أي : وهذا سالم من الاختلاف ، فهو من عند الله . ـ

Allah is commanding His slaves to contemplate the Qur’an and forbidding them from turning away from it or from turning away from understanding its clear meanings and eloquent wordings. He is also informing them that it does not contain any contradictions or disagreements within it; it neither opposes nor contradictions itself. That is because it is a revelation from the Wise and Praise-worthy One, so it is truth from the True One. That is why Allah said:

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا

Do they not then think deeply in the Quran, or are their hearts locked up? [47:24]

So He said: Continue reading