Ashaab al-Aykah and the People of Shu’aib: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah begins recounts the story of His prophet Shu’aib in surah al-Shu’araa’ by saying:

كَذَّبَ أَصْحَابُ الْأَيْكَةِ الْمُرْسَلِينَ * إِذْ قَالَ لَهُمْ شُعَيْبٌ أَلَا تَتَّقُونَ

The Ashaab al-Aykah denied the messengers * when Shu’aib said to them, “Won’t you have taqwaa?” [26:176-177]

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir mentioned the following point in his discussion of these verses:

 هؤلاء – أعني أصحاب الأيكة – هم أهل مدين على الصحيح . وكان نبي الله شعيب من أنفسهم ، وإنما لم يقل هنا أخوهم شعيب ; لأنهم نسبوا إلى عبادة الأيكة ، وهي شجرة . وقيل : شجر ملتف كالغيضة ، كانوا يعبدونها ; فلهذا لما قال : كذب أصحاب الأيكة المرسلين ، لم يقل : ” إذ قال لهم أخوهم شعيب ” ، وإنما قال : ( إذ قال لهم شعيب ) ، فقطع نسبة الأخوة بينهم ; للمعنى الذي نسبوا إليه ، وإن كان أخاهم نسبا . ومن الناس من لم يتفطن لهذه النكتة ، فظن أن أصحاب الأيكة غير أهل مدين ، فزعم أن شعيبا عليه السلام ، بعثه الله إلى أمتين ، ومنهم من قال : ثلاث أمم . … والصحيح أنهم أمة واحدة ، وصفوا في كل مقام بشيء ; ولهذا وعظ هؤلاء وأمرهم بوفاء المكيال والميزان ، كما في قصة مدين سواء بسواء ، فدل ذلك على أنهم أمة واحدة . ـ

These people – meaning the Ashaab al-Aykah [the People of the Thicket] – are the people of the city of Madyan according to the correct opinion. The prophet of Allah Shu’aib was one of them, and the only reason why he is not referred to here as “their brother Shu’aib” is because here they are being described in relation to their worship of the aykah, which is a sort of tree – and some say it is a twisted sort of tree like a thicket -, which they used to worship.

So it is because of this that when Allah said, “The Ashaab al-Aykah denied the messengers“, He did not then say, “when their brother Shu’aib said to them…”, but instead said, “when Shu’aib said to them…“. So He cut off the relationship of brotherhood between Shu’aib and his people in the sense of them being referred to as “his people” even though he was in fact related to them as their brother. Continue reading

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Those who come to Allah with a Pure Heart: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

In surah al-Shu’araa’, the prophet Ibrahim made a du’aa in which he described the Day of Judgement by saying:

يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ * إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّـهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ

The Day wherein neither wealth nor sons will avail, * Except him who brings to Allah a qalb saleem [pure heart] (26:88-89)

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

قوله تعالى : يوم لا ينفع مال ولا بنون ( يوم ) بدل من ( يوم ) الأول . أي يوم لا ينفع مال ولا بنون أحدا . والمراد بقوله : ” ولا بنون ” الأعوان ; لأن الابن إذا لم ينفع فغيره متى ينفع ؟ وقيل : ذكر البنين لأنه جرى ذكر والد إبراهيم ، أي لم ينفعه إبراهيم . ـ

Allah’s statement:

يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ

The Day wherein neither wealth nor sons will avail

– meaning, a day on which neither wealth nor sons will benefit anyone. And the intended meaning of his statement, “nor sons” is helpers, because if sons do not help you, then who else will? And some say, “he mentioned sons here because it comes along with mentioning Ibrahim’s father” – i.e. Ibrahim will not benefit him.

 إلا من أتى الله بقلب سليم هو استثناء من الكافرين ; أي لا ينفعه ماله ولا بنوه . وقيل : هو استثناء من غير الجنس ، أي لكن من أتى الله بقلب سليم ينفعه لسلامة قلبه . ـ

إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّـهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ

Except him who brings to Allah a qalb saleem [pure heart]

This is an exclusion of the disbelievers, i.e. their wealth and sons will not benefit them. But others say it is an exclusion without any exception, i.e. (on that day neither wealth nor sons will benefit) however whoever comes to Allah with a qalb saleem [pure heart] will benefit from the purity of his heart.

وخص القلب بالذكر ; لأنه الذي إذا سلم سلمت الجوارح ، وإذا فسد فسدت سائر الجوارح . وقد تقدم في أول ( البقرة ) . ـ

And the heart is mentioned specifically here because it is that which, if it is pure then one’s limbs are pure, but if it is corrupted then the rest of one’s limbs are corrupted. And this has already been mentioned in the beginning of surah al-Baqarah. Continue reading

Khutbah regarding ‘Aashooraa’: Imam al-Sa’di

In a collection of more than 400 sermons of sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di, the following khutbah was one of several related to the month of Muharram:

خطبة ثانية لشهر الله المحرم

The second Khutbah regarding the month of Allah, al-Muharram

الحمد لله القاهر فوق عباده عزا وسلطانا ، القادر على مراده فما اتّخذ في خلق السماوات والارض أعوانا ، الناصر من نصر دينه فحاشاه أن يرهقه خذلانا ، العظيم الشان وناهيك بشأن الربوبية شانا ، خضعت لعزته رقاب الجبابرة إذعانا ، ودلت على وحدانيته شواهد الاعتبار عيانا ، قسم الخلق كما شاء شمائل وأيمانا ، فمنتحل إيمانا ومنتحل كفرانا ، قسمة كتبت فكتمت غير أنّ للسعادة والشقاوة عنوانا ، فطوبى للذين : < إِذَا ذُكِرَ‌ اللَّـهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا > [الانفال 2] ، وبعدا للذين إذا ذُكّروا بآيات ربهم خرّوا عليها صمّا وعميانا .  ـ

All praise belongs to Allah, the One who is irresistibly powerful over His slaves with might and authority; the One who is fully capable of enacting His will for He did not take any assistance in the creation of the heavens and the earth; the One who aids those who aid His deen so He saves these ones from being overcome by failure. How magnificent is His greatness, not to mention the greatness of His Lordship! The necks of the tyrants humble themselves to His might in submissiveness, and the testimony of witnessed examples proves His right to be singled out. He divided the creation as He willed into those of the right and those of the left; some of them ascribed to eemaan and some ascribed to disbelief. This division was ordained and then concealed except for the fact that ultimate happiness and sorrow have signs and indications, so glad tidings to those who:

إِذَا ذُكِرَ‌ اللَّـهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا

 when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith [8:2]

and ill tidings for those who, when the ayaat of their Lord are mentioned to them, they suddenly become deaf and blind.

أحمده سبحانه سرا وإعلانا . وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له شهادة أرجو بها يوم القيامة أمانا . وأشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله أكمل الخلق عقلا وأرجحهم ميزانا . ـ

I praise Him – exalted is He – privately and openly. And I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allah alone with no partners – a testimony through which I hope for safety on the Day of Judgement. And I testify that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger – the most complete of the creation in terms of intellect and the most just in judgement.

اللهم صلّ على عبدك ورسولك محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه الذين أيّد الله بهم دينه فكانوا على ذلك أنصارا وأعوانا ، وسلّم تسليما . ـ

O Allah, bestow peace and blessings upon Your slave and Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and his companions – those through whom Allah aided His religion and as such they were helpers and aids.

أما بعد : ـ فيا أيها الناس ؛ اتّقوا الله تعالى تقية من خاف وحذر واستقام ، والتزموا ما وجب عليكم من حقوق الإيمان والإسلام ، وأحبوه تعالى لما غذاكم به من جزيل الفضل والإنعام . ـ

To proceed: O People! Exercise taqwa of Allah – the taqwa of one who fears Him, keeps his guard up and is upright -, and adhere to what is obligatory upon you of the duties of al-eemaan and al-islaam, and love Him due to that with which He has nurtured you of abundant favors and blessings.

واعلموا رحمكم الله أنكم استقبلتم عاما جديدا ، وشهرا محرّما أكيدا ، خصّ باليوم العاشر ، بالأجر الجزيل الوافر . ـ

And know – may Allah have mercy on you all – that you are facing a new year and an emphasized sacred month – especially its tenth day – of abundant and plentiful rewards.

فعن ابن عباس قال : ( قدم النبي ﷺ المدينة فوجد اليهود صياما يوم عاشوراء ، فقال ‏”‏ ما هذا اليوم الذي تصومونه ؟ ‏”‏‏.‏ قالوا ” هذا يوم نجى الله فيه موسى وقومه ، وأهلك فيه فرعون وقومه ، فصامه موسى‏ شكرا لله ، ونحن نصومه ” .‏ قال ﷺ ‏”‏ نحن أَحقُّ وأولى بموسى منكم ‏”‏‏.‏ فصامه وأمر بصيامه.‏ )  [أخرجه البخاري (3315) ومسلم (2714)] ـ

For Ibn ‘Abbas reported:

Continue reading

“All that which they used to enjoy shall not benefit them”: Tafsir al-Baghawi

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in His Book, in surah al-Shu’ara’ (26):

كَذَٰلِكَ سَلَكْنَاهُ فِي قُلُوبِ الْمُجْرِ‌مِينَ ﴿٢٠٠﴾ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِهِ حَتَّىٰ يَرَ‌وُا الْعَذَابَ الْأَلِيمَ ﴿٢٠١﴾ فَيَأْتِيَهُم بَغْتَةً وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُ‌ونَ ﴿٢٠٢﴾ فَيَقُولُوا هَلْ نَحْنُ مُنظَرُ‌ونَ ﴿٢٠٣﴾ أَفَبِعَذَابِنَا يَسْتَعْجِلُونَ ﴿٢٠٤﴾ أَفَرَ‌أَيْتَ إِن مَّتَّعْنَاهُمْ سِنِينَ ﴿٢٠٥﴾ ثُمَّ جَاءَهُم مَّا كَانُوا يُوعَدُونَ ﴿٢٠٦﴾مَا أَغْنَىٰ عَنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا يُمَتَّعُونَ ﴿٢٠٧﴾ـ

Thus have We caused it to enter the hearts of the Mujrimun. (200) They will not believe in it until they see the painful torment; (201) And it will come to them suddenly while they perceive it not; (202) Then they will say: “Can we be respited?” (203) Would they then wish for Our Torment to be hastened on? (204) Have you then considered if We let them enjoy themselves for years, (205) And then there came to them that which they were promised? (206) All that  which they used to enjoy shall not benefit them. (207)

Imam al-Baghawi, in his book of tafsir, wrote about these ayaat:

{كَذَلِكَ سَلَكْنَاهُ} قال ابن عباس، والحسن، ومجاهد: أدخلنا الشرك والتكذيب {فِي قُلُوبِ الْمُجْرِمِينَ}.

Thus have We caused it to enter” – Ibn ‘Abbaas, Hasan [al-Basri], and Mujaahid said [it means], “We have caused shirk and denial to enter “into enter the hearts of the Mujrimun.”

{لا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِهِ} أي: بالقرآن، {حَتَّى يَرَوُا الْعَذَابَ الألِيمَ} يعني: عند الموت.

They will not believe in it” – meaning the Qur’an – “until they see the painful torment” – meaning at the time of death. Continue reading