The examples and comparisons in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Imam Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee brought the following discussion regarding the examples and comparisons that Allah uses in the Qur’an during his tafsir of surah Ibrahim:

قوله تعالى : مثل الذين كفروا بربهم أعمالهم كرماد اشتدت به الريح في يوم عاصف الآية . ـ

Allah’s statement:

مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُ‌وا بِرَ‌بِّهِمْ ۖ أَعْمَالُهُمْ كَرَ‌مَادٍ اشْتَدَّتْ بِهِ الرِّ‌يحُ فِي يَوْمٍ عَاصِفٍ ۖ لَّا يَقْدِرُ‌ونَ مِمَّا كَسَبُوا عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الضَّلَالُ الْبَعِيدُ

The example of those who disbelieve in their Lord: their deeds are like ashes which the wind blows forcefully on a stormy day; they have no power over that which they have earned. That is what is extreme error. [14:18]

ضرب الله تعالى لأعمال الكفار مثلا في هذه الآية الكريمة برماد اشتدت به الرياح في يوم عاصف ، أي شديد الريح ، فإن تلك الريح الشديدة العاصفة تطير ذلك الرماد ولم تبق له أثرا ، فكذلك أعمال الكفار كصلات الأرحام ، وقرى الضيف ، والتنفيس عن المكروب ، وبر الوالدين ، ونحو ذلك يبطلها الكفر ويذهبها ، كما تطير تلك الريح ذلك الرماد . ـ

In this noble ayah Allah strikes a comparison between the deeds of the disbelievers and ashes which the wind blows forcefully on a stormy day, i.e. a severe wind. For indeed that severe stormy wind causes those ashes to fly and does not leave any trace of them. So likewise and the deeds of the disbelievers, such as maintaining the ties of kinship, hospitality towards guests, aiding the one in distress, being dutiful to one’s parents, and the likes of that are all invalidated and done away with by kufr (disbelief), just as that wind causes those ashes to fly away.

وضرب أمثالا أخر في آيات أخر لأعمال الكفار بهذا المعنى ، كقوله : والذين كفروا أعمالهم كسراب بقيعة يحسبه الظمآن ماء حتى إذا جاءه لم يجده شيئا [ 24 \ 39 ] ، وقوله : مثل ما ينفقون في هذه الحياة الدنيا كمثل ريح فيها صر أصابت حرث قوم ظلموا [ ص: 246 ] أنفسهم فأهلكته الآية [ 3 \ 117 ] ، وقوله : ياأيها الذين آمنوا لا تبطلوا صدقاتكم بالمن والأذى كالذي ينفق ماله رئاء الناس ولا يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر فمثله كمثل صفوان عليه تراب فأصابه وابل فتركه صلدا لا يقدرون على شيء مما كسبوا والله لا يهدي القوم الكافرين [ 2 \ 264 ] ، وقوله : وقدمنا إلى ما عملوا من عمل فجعلناه هباء منثورا [ 25 \ 23 ] ، إلى غير ذلك من الآيات . ـ

And Allah struck other comparisons of this meaning for the deeds of the disbelievers in other ayaat, such as His statement: Continue reading

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The Universal Messenger: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote in his well-known book of tafsir:

قوله تعالى : وما أرسلنا من رسول إلا بلسان قومه ليبين لهم فيضل الله من يشاء . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَمَا أَرْ‌سَلْنَا مِن رَّ‌سُولٍ إِلَّا بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمْ ۖ فَيُضِلُّ اللَّـهُ مَن يَشَاءُ

And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them, and Allah sends astray [thereby] whom He wills [14:4]

بين الله تعالى في هذه الآية الكريمة أنه لم يرسل رسولا إلا بلغة قومه ; لأنه لم يرسل رسولا إلا إلى قومه دون غيرهم ، ولكنه بين في مواضع أخر أن نبينا صلى الله عليه وسلم أرسل إلى جميع الخلائق دون اختصاص بقومه ولا بغيرهم ، كقوله تعالى : قل ياأيها الناس إني رسول الله إليكم جميعا [ 7 \ 158 ] ، وقوله : تبارك الذي نزل الفرقان على عبده ليكون للعالمين نذيرا [ 25 \ 1 ] ، وقوله : وما أرسلناك إلا كافة للناس الآية [ 34 \ 28 ] إلى غير ذلك من الآيات الدالة على عموم رسالته لأهل كل لسان ، فهو صلى الله عليه وسلم يجب عليه إبلاغ أهل كل لسان ، ـ

In this noble ayah Allah clarified that He did not send any messenger except with the language of his people, for He did not send any messenger except to his own people to the exclusion of any others. However, He also clarified elsewhere that our Prophet (ﷺ) was sent to all of the created beings rather than being exclusively for his people and not to others. For instance, His statement:

قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي رَ‌سُولُ اللَّـهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعًا

Say, [O Muhammad], “O mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to you all” [7:158]

And His statement: Continue reading

The Du’a of Ibrahim for Mecca and his Descendants: Tafsir al-Sa’di

After the Prophet Moosaa, there is no prophet who is mentioned more frequently in the Qur’an than Ibrahim (‘alaihis salaam). In surah Ibrahim, Allah informs us of one of the events in his life [see surah Ibrahim 14:35-41]. Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di, in his famous book of tafsir, wrote the following commentary on these ayaat:

‏ ‏{‏وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّ اجْعَلْ هَذَا الْبَلَدَ آمِنًا‏}‏ أي‏:‏ ‏{‏و‏}‏ اذكر إبراهيم عليه الصلاة والسلام في هذه الحالة الجميلة، إذ قَال‏:‏ ‏{‏رَبِّ اجْعَلْ هَذَا الْبَلَدَ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ الحرم ‏{‏آمِنًا‏}‏ فاستجاب الله دعاءه شرعا وقدرا، فحرمه الله في الشرع ويسر من أسباب حرمته قدرا ما هو معلوم، حتى إنه لم يرده ظالم بسوء إلا قصمه الله كما فعل بأصحاب الفيل وغيرهم‏.‏ ـ

وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّ اجْعَلْ هَذَا الْبَلَدَ آمِنًا

And when Ibrahim said, ‘My Lord, make this land secure

– meaning: “And” mention Ibrahim (‘alaihis salaatu was salaam) in this beautiful situation, when he said:

رَبِّ اجْعَلْ هَذَا الْبَلَدَ ‏آمِنًا‏

‘My Lord, make this land” -meaning the Haram – “secure”

so Allah answered his du’a both with His divine legislation and with His divine decree. For Allah sanctified it in the divine legislation, and (also) facilitated the means of its inviolability in terms of divine decree from what is well-known, to the extent that it would not repel an oppressor with harm except that Allah would crush them just as He did with the Companions of the Elephant and others.

ولما دعا له بالأمن دعا له ولبنيه بالأمن فقال‏:‏ ‏{‏وَاجْنُبْنِي وَبَنِيَّ أَنْ نَعْبُدَ الْأَصْنَامَ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ اجعلني وإياهم جانبًا بعيدًا عن عبادتها والإلمام بها، ثم ذكر الموجب لخوفه عليه وعلى بنيه بكثرة من افتتن وابتلي بعبادتها فقال‏:‏

And when Ibrahim supplicated to Allah for security, he supplicated for security for his himself and for offspring, for he said:

وَاجْنُبْنِي وَبَنِيَّ أَنْ نَعْبُدَ الْأَصْنَامَ

and turn me and my sons away from worshiping idols

– meaning: make for me and for them a great distance from their worship and familiarity with them. He then mentioned the reason for his fear he felt regarding himself and his children for the abundance of trials and tribulations of their worship, so he said, Continue reading

“Remind them of the Days of Allah”: Tafsir al-Shawkaani

Allah says in surah Ibrahim:

وَلَقَدْ أَرْ‌سَلْنَا مُوسَىٰ بِآيَاتِنَا أَنْ أَخْرِ‌جْ قَوْمَكَ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ‌ وَذَكِّرْ‌هُم بِأَيَّامِ اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ‌ شَكُورٍ

And We certainly sent Moosaa with Our signs, [saying], “Bring out your people from darknesses into the light and remind them of the days of Allah.” Indeed in that are signs for everyone patient and grateful. [14:5]
Commenting on this, Imam al-Shawkaani wrote:
وذكرهم بأيام الله أي بوقائعه . ـ
‘And remind them of the days of Allah’ – meaning His events.
 –
قال ابن السكيت : العرب تقول الأيام في معنى الوقائع ، يقال فلان عالم بأيام العرب ، أي : بوقائعها . ـ
ibn al-Sakeet said:The Arabs says ‘days’ with the meaning of ‘events/happenings’.  One might say, ‘So-and-so is very knowledgeable of the days of the Arabs’ – meaning: of their happenings.
 –
وقال الزجاج ، أي : ذكرهم بنعم الله عليهم وبنقم أيام الله التي انتقم فيها من قوم نوح وعاد وثمود . ـ
And al-Zujaaj said: it means ‘remind them of the blessings of Allah upon them and of the punishment of the days of Allah which He inflicted upon the people of Nuh, ‘Aad and Thamood. Continue reading

The supplications of four prophets for or against their people: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah informs us in surah Ibrahim about the statement of His Khaleel Ibrahim:

فَمَن تَبِعَنِي فَإِنَّهُ مِنِّي ۖ وَمَنْ عَصَانِي فَإِنَّكَ غَفُورٌ‌ رَّ‌حِيمٌ

[Ibrahim said] “So whoever follows me – then he is of me; and whoever disobeys me – indeed, You are al-Ghafoor al-Raheem (Forgiving and Merciful).”

[al-Qur’an 14:36]

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

بين تعالى في هذه الآية الكريمة أن نبيه إبراهيم قال : إن من تبعه فإنه منه ، وأنه رد أمر من لم يتبعه إلى مشيئة الله تعالى ، إن شاء الله غفر له ; لأنه هو الغفور الرحيم ، ـ

Allah clarified (some issues) about His prophet Ibrahim in this noble ayah – He said: Continue reading

“A Good Word is like a Good Tree”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah Ibrahim, Allah strikes a clear and vivid example for the believers when He says:

أَلَمْ تَرَ‌ كَيْفَ ضَرَ‌بَ اللَّـهُ مَثَلًا كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً كَشَجَرَ‌ةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْ‌عُهَا فِي السَّمَاءِ * تُؤْتِي أُكُلَهَا كُلَّ حِينٍ بِإِذْنِ رَ‌بِّهَا ۗ وَيَضْرِ‌بُ اللَّـهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُ‌ونَ * وَمَثَلُ كَلِمَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ كَشَجَرَ‌ةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ اجْتُثَّتْ مِن فَوْقِ الْأَرْ‌ضِ مَا لَهَا مِن قَرَ‌ارٍ‌

Have you not considered how Allah presents an example: a good word is like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches in the sky? * It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded. * And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability. [14:24-26]

Imam ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Naasir al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, writes the following explanation of these ayaat:

يقول تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَة‏}‏ ‏‏ وهي شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله، وفروعها ‏{‏كَشَجَرَةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ‏}‏ وهي النخلة ‏{‏أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ‏}‏ في الأرض ‏{‏وَفَرْعُهَا‏}‏ منتشر ‏{‏فِي السَّمَاءِ‏}‏ وهي كثيرة النفع دائما، ‏{‏تُؤْتِي أُكُلَهَا‏}‏ أي‏:‏ ثمرتها ‏{‏كُلَّ حِينٍ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهَا‏}‏ فكذلك شجرة الإيمان ، أصلها ثابت في قلب المؤمن، علما واعتقادا‏.‏ وفرعها من الكلم الطيب والعمل الصالح والأخلاق المرضية، والآداب الحسنة في السماء دائما يصعد إلى الله منه من الأعمال والأقوال التي تخرجها شجرة الإيمان ما ينتفع به المؤمن وينفع غيره، ‏‏

Allah the Exalted says, “Have you not considered how Allah presents an example: a good word” – and it is the bearing witness that Laa ilaaha illallaah [There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah], and its (associated) subsidiary matters – “is like a good tree” – and this is the date-palm tree – “whose root is firmly fixed” in the ground “and its branches” are widespread “in the sky” and it is prolific in benefit at all times. “It produces its food” – meaning: its fruit – “all the time, by the permission of its Lord” and like this is the tree of al-eemaan. Continue reading

Shaytaan’s address to the disbelievers at the end of time: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah Ibrahim, Allah informs us of some of the affairs of the unseen and events which will occur in the future when He says:

وَقَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ لَمَّا قُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ‌ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ الْحَقِّ وَوَعَدتُّكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ ۖ وَمَا كَانَ لِيَ عَلَيْكُم مِّن سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا أَن دَعَوْتُكُمْ فَاسْتَجَبْتُمْ لِي ۖ فَلَا تَلُومُونِي وَلُومُوا أَنفُسَكُم ۖ مَّا أَنَا بِمُصْرِ‌خِكُمْ وَمَا أَنتُم بِمُصْرِ‌خِيَّ ۖ إِنِّي كَفَرْ‌تُ بِمَا أَشْرَ‌كْتُمُونِ مِن قَبْلُ ۗ إِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ – وَأُدْخِلَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِ‌ي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ‌ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَ‌بِّهِمْ ۖ تَحِيَّتُهُمْ فِيهَا سَلَامٌ

And the Shaytaan will say when the matter has been concluded, “Indeed, Allah had promised you the promise of truth. And I promised you, and I betrayed you. But I had no authority over you except that I invited you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me; but blame yourselves. I cannot be called to your aid, nor can you be called to my aid. Indeed, I deny your association of me [with Allah] before. Indeed, for the wrongdoers is a painful punishment.” And those who believed and did righteous deeds will be admitted to gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein by permission of their Lord; and their greeting therein will be, “Peace!” [14:22-23]

Imam ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Naasir al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, wrote the following explanation of these ayaat:

أي‏:‏ ‏{‏وَقَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ‏}‏ الذي هو سبب لكل شر يقع ووقع في العالم، مخاطبا لأهل النار ومتبرئا منهم ‏{‏لَمَّا قُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ‏}‏ ودخل أهل الجنة الجنة وأهل النار النار‏.‏ ‏{‏إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ الْحَقِّ‏}‏ على ألسنة رسله فلم تطيعوه، فلو أطعتموه لأدركتم الفوز العظيم، ‏{‏وَوَعَدْتُكُمْ‏}‏ الخير ‏{‏فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ لم يحصل ولن يحصل لكم ما منيتكم به من الأماني الباطلة‏.‏

Meaning “And the Shaytaan will say” – and he is the cause of every evil which occurs and which has occurred in the world – addressing the people of the fire and disassociating himself from them “when the matter has been concluded” and the people of al-Jannah have entered al-Jannah and the people of the fire have entered the fire. ““Indeed, Allah had promised you the promise of truth” on the tongues of His messengers and you did not obey it, for if you had obeyed it then you would have achieved a great achievement. “And I promised you” good “and I betrayed you” – meaning: you did not obtain – and you never will obtain – what you intended to achieve from these futile hopes.

Continue reading

An incitement towards gratitude for Allah’s blessings

Allah says in His Book:

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ

“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.'” [al-Qur’an 14:7]

In his tasfir, Imam al-Sa’di writes:

وقال لهم حاثا على شكر نعم الله‏:‏ ‏{‏وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ أعلم ووعد، ‏{‏لَئِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ‏}‏ من نعمي ‏{‏وَلَئِنْ كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ‏}‏ ومن ذلك أن يزيل عنهم النعمة التي أنعم بها عليهم‏.‏

“He said to them an incitement towards thankfulness for Allah’s blessings. ‘And remember when you Lord proclaimed‘ – meaning informed and promised – ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you‘ – from My blessings – ‘but if you are ungrateful, indeed, My punishment is severe‘- and from that is the removal of the blessings which He had bestowed upon them.

والشكر‏:‏ هو اعتراف القلب بنعم الله والثناء على الله بها وصرفها في مرضاة الله تعالى‏.‏ وكفر النعمة ضد ذلك‏.‏

“And al-Shukr (thankfulness/gratefulness) is the heart’s recognition of Allah’s blessings, praising Allah for them, and in exchange for that is the pleasure of Allah ta’ala. And ingratitude for the blessings is the opposite of that.”

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman, p. 422]