“A Word They Say with Their Mouths”: Tafsir al-Shawkani

Allah says in surah al-Tawbah:

وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ ابْنُ اللَّـهِ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَى الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللَّـهِ ۖ ذَٰلِكَ قَوْلُهُم بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ ۖ يُضَاهِئُونَ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِن قَبْلُ ۚ قَاتَلَهُمُ اللَّـهُ ۚ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ

The Jews say, “‘Uzayr is the son of Allah “; and the Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allah.” That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded? [9:30]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Shawkani mentions the following benefit in his explanation of this ayah:

قوله : ذلك قولهم بأفواههم الإشارة إلى ما صدر عنهم من هذه المقالة الباطلة . ـ

Allah’s statement:

ذَٰلِكَ قَوْلُهُم بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ

That is their statement from their mouths

indicates that these things which have emanated from them are false statements.

ووجه قولهم بأفواههم مع العلم بأن القول لا يكون إلا بالفم ، بأن هذا القول لما كان ساذجا ليس فيه بيان ولا عضده برهان كان مجرد دعوى ، لا معنى تحتها ، فارغة صادرة عنهم صدور المهملات التي ليس فيها إلا كونها خارجة من الأفواه ، غير مفيدة لفائدة يعتد بها ، وقيل : إن ذكر الأفواه لقصد التأكيد كما في ” كتبت بيدي ومشيت برجلي ” ، ومنه قوله – تعالى – : يكتبون الكتاب بأيديهم ( البقرة : 79 ) وقوله : ولا طائر يطير بجناحيه ( الأنعام : 38 ) . ـ

The reason for saying “from their mouths” despite it being common knowledge that speech does not happen by any other means than the mouth is that this statement of theirs is nothing more than a claim since it is just a simple-minded statement without any further elaboration or supporting evidence. It is nothing more than an empty claim without any meaning beneath it, a careless utterance with no substance to it at all. It is just something that came from their mouths without actually having any real meaning to it. Continue reading

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The Arrangement of the Qur’an: Tafsir ibn Kathir

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir mentioned the following in the introduction to his tafsir in a section entitled “The Gathering of the Qur’an” which focused on the preservation and collection of the Qur’an. This is the fourth of five sections of our translation of that discussion:

وكان عثمان – والله أعلم – رتب السور في المصحف ، وقدم السبع الطوال وثنى بالمئين ؛ ولهذا روى ابن جرير وأبو داود والترمذي والنسائي من حديث غير واحد من الأئمة الكبار ، عن عوف الأعرابي ، عن يزيد الفارسي ، عن ابن عباس قال : قلت لعثمان بن عفان : ما حملكم أن عمدتم إلى ” الأنفال ” وهي من المثاني وإلى ” براءة ” وهي من المئين ، فقرنتم بينهما ولم تكتبوا بينهما سطر بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم ، ووضعتموها في السبع الطوال ؟ ما حملكم على ذلك ؟ فقال عثمان : كان رسول الله مما يأتي عليه الزمان وهو ينزل عليه السور ذوات العدد ، فكان إذا نزل عليه الشيء دعا بعض من كان يكتب فيقول : ضعوا هذه الآيات في السورة التي يذكر فيها كذا وكذا ، فإذا أنزلت عليه الآية فيقول : ضعوا هذه الآية في السورة التي يذكر فيها كذا وكذا ، وكانت الأنفال من أول ما نزل بالمدينة ، وكانت براءة من آخر القرآن ، وكانت قصتها شبيهة بقصتها ، وحسبت أنها منها وقبض رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ولم يبين لنا أنها منها ، فمن أجل ذلك قرنت بينهما ولم أكتب بينهما سطر بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم فوضعتها في السبع الطوال . [ ص: 30 ] ـ

It was ‘Uthman who arranged the surahs in the mushaf – and Allah knows best. He placed the Seven Long surahs[1] first but inserted some of the Mi’oon surahs [surahs of roughly 100 ayaat] among them.

On this subject ibn Jarir, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasaa’i relayed a narration from more than one of the great scholars of hadith, on the authority of ‘Awf ibn al-A’rabi, on the authority of Yazeed ibn al-Faarisee, that ibn ‘Abbaas said:

I said to ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan, “What led you to place surah al-Anfaal (08) where you did when it is one of the Mathaani surahs?[2] Likewise with surah al-Baraa’ah (09 – also known as surah al-Tawbah)  when it is one of the Mi’oon surahs? And then you put these two surahs next to each other without writing the line of bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem between them and placed them in the middle of the Seven Long surahs. So what prompted you to do all of that?” Continue reading

Does the term “al-Mushrikoon” include the Ahl al-Kitaab? – Imam al-Shinqitee

During a lesson that sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee once gave in Jordan, he was asked a series of three questions from one of the students of knowledge present. The second of these questions was:

هل يشمل لفظ المشركين أهل الكتاب؟

Does the term “al-Mushrikoon” include the Ahl al-Kitaab?

In response to this question, the sheikh answered:

وأما الجواب عن المسالة الثانية , فهو أن ما ذكرتم من أن القرآن فرق بين المشركين وبين أهل الكتاب , واستشهدتم لذلك بآية المائدة لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِلَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَبَهُمْ مَوَدَّةً لِلَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَى (82) الآية ، فهو كما ذكرتم, لأن العطف يقتضي بظاهره الفرق بين المعطوف والمعطوف عليه. ـ

As for the answer to the second question, then it is regarding what some have mentioned that the Qur’an makes a distinction between the Mushrikoon and the Ahl al-Kitaab, and as evidence they cite the ayah of surah al-Maa’idah:

لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَ‌كُوا ۖ وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَ‌بَهُم مَّوَدَّةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَ‌ىٰ

You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews and those who associate others with Allah; and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, “We are Christians.” [5:82]

And it is as they say, because mentioning two items of the same part-of-speech category together [i.e. “the Jews” and “those who associate others with Allah”] entails that there is some distinction between the two when taken at its apparent linguistic meaning. Continue reading

“And the Jews say ‘Uzair is the son of Allah” – Ibn Taymiyah

In Majmoo’ al-Fataawa of Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah, under the section of tafsir, under the section of the tafsir of surah al-Tawbah, it is recorded:

سئل رحمه الله عن قوله تعالى { وقالت اليهود عزير ابن الله } كلهم قالوا ذلك أم بعضهم ؟ { وقول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يؤتى باليهود يوم القيامة فيقال لهم ما كنتم تعبدون ؟ فيقولون العزير } الحديث . هل الخطاب عام أم لا ؟ . ـ

He was asked – may Allah have mercy on him – about the statement of Allah:

وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ‌ ابْنُ اللَّـهِ

And the Jews say, “‘Uzair is the son of Allah” [9:30]

Do all of them say this, or only some of them?

And the statement of the Prophet (ﷺ), “The Jews will be brought on the Yawm al-Qiyaamah and it will be said to them, ‘what did you used to worship?’ So they will say, ‘al-‘Uzair’.” – Is this a general address [i.e. to all Jews] or not? Continue reading

The Sacred Months

Allah سبحانه وتعالى informed the believers in His Book when He said:

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ‌ عِندَ اللَّـهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ‌ شَهْرً‌ا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّـهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضَ مِنْهَا أَرْ‌بَعَةٌ حُرُ‌مٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ ۚ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُمْ

Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them” [9:36]

Ibn Kathir mentions in his great book of tafsir:

وقال علي بن أبي طلحة، عن ابن عباس قوله: {إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا} الآية {فَلا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنْفُسَكُمْ} في كلِّهن، ثم اختص من ذلك أربعة أشهر فجعلهن حراما، وعَظم حُرُماتهن، وجعل الذنب فيهن أعظم، والعمل الصالح والأجر أعظم

‘Ali ibn Abi Talhah narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas about the statement, “Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months” until “so do not commit injustice against yourselves therein” [meaning] in any of them, then He specified four months* from those and he made them sacred, and He emphasized their sacredness, and made sins in them magnified, and righteous actions and the reward (also) magnified. Continue reading