Those who neglect the prayers and pursue desires: Tafsir al-Shawkaani

In surah Maryam, Allah mentions a series of Prophets, and then describes some of their descendants by saying:

فَخَلَفَ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ خَلْفٌ أَضَاعُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَاتَّبَعُوا الشَّهَوَاتِ ۖ فَسَوْفَ يَلْقَوْنَ غَيًّا * إِلَّا مَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَأُولَـٰئِكَ يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَا يُظْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا

But there came after them successors who neglected prayer and pursued desires; so they are going to meet evil * Except those who repent, believe and do righteousness; for those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged at all. [19:59-60]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Shawkaani commented on this in his book of tafsir by writing:

ولما مدح هؤلاء الأنبياء بهذه الأوصاف ترغيبا لغيرهم في الاقتداء بهم وسلوك طريقتهم ذكر أضدادهم تنفيرا للناس عن طريقتهم فقال : فخلف من بعدهم خلف أي : عقب سوء . قال أهل اللغة : يقال لعقب الخير خلف بفتح اللام ، ولعقب الشر خلف بسكون اللام ، وقد قدمنا الكلام على هذا في آخر الأعراف أضاعوا الصلاة قال الأكثر : معنى ذلك أنهم أخروها عن وقتها ، وقيل : أضاعوا الوقت وقيل : كفروا بها وجحدوا وجوبها ، وقيل : لم يأتوا بها على الوجه المشروع . ـ

So after Allah had praised these prophets by mentioning these qualities as a means to encourage others to emulate them and follow in their footsteps, He then mentioned their opposites as a means to discourage people from their ways. So He said:

فَخَلَفَ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ خَلْفٌ

But there came after them successors

meaning: evil ones came after them. And experts in the language say: If you want to say that good followed something, then you say khalafun with a fathah on the letter laam, while if you want to say evil followed something, then you say khalfun with a sukoon on the letter laam. And we have already spoken about this in the end of surah al-Aa’raaf.  Continue reading

Inheriting al-Jannah: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

In his tafsir of surah Maryam, sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote:

قوله تعالى : تلك الجنة التي نورث من عبادنا من كان تقيا ، الإشارة في قوله : تلك [ 19 \ 63 ] ، إلى ما تقدم من قوله : فأولئك يدخلون الجنة ولا يظلمون شيئا جنات عدن التي وعد الرحمن عباده بالغيب الآية ، وقد بين جل وعلا في هذه الآية الكريمة أنه يورث المتقين من عباده جنته ، وقد بين هذا المعنى أيضا في مواضع أخر ، كقوله تعالى : قد أفلح المؤمنون الذين هم في صلاتهم خاشعون – إلى قوله – أولئك هم الوارثون الذين يرثون الفردوس هم فيها خالدون [ 23 \ 1 – 11 ] ، وقوله : وسارعوا إلى مغفرة من ربكم وجنة عرضها السماوات والأرض أعدت للمتقين الآيات [ 3 \ 133 ] ، وقوله تعالى : وسيق الذين اتقوا ربهم إلى الجنة زمرا الآية [ 39 \ 71 ] ، وقوله : ونودوا أن تلكم الجنة أورثتموها بما كنتم تعملون [ 7 \ 43 ] ، إلى غير ذلك من الآيات . ـ

Allah’s statement:

تِلْكَ الْجَنَّةُ الَّتِي نُورِ‌ثُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا مَن كَانَ تَقِيًّا

That is Paradise, which We give as inheritance to those of Our servants who exercised taqwa [19:63]

And the thing being indicated here by “That” refers to what came before this ayah, starting from Allah’s statement:

فَأُولَـٰئِكَ يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَا يُظْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا * جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ الَّتِي وَعَدَ الرَّ‌حْمَـٰنُ عِبَادَهُ بِالْغَيْبِ

for those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged at all. * gardens of perpetual residence which the Most Merciful has promised His servants in the unseen. [19:60-61]

until the ayah.

In this noble ayah Allah clarified that those who exercise taqwa from among His slaves will be granted His Jannah as an inheritance, and He has also explained this meaning in a number of other places. For instance, His statement:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ * الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ

Indeed the believers have succeed * those who are characterized in the prayers with al-khushoo’ [23:1-2]

until His statement: Continue reading

An Example of Added Meaning from the Different Qiraa’aat

The different qiraa’aat (recitations) of the Qur’an are an important part of tafsir and the sciences of the Qur’an, but a subject which does not receive much discussion in the English language. We have translated a brief introduction to this matter from sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez bin Baaz, which we would recommending reading as a primer before proceeding with this article.

What follows is a simple and – inshaAllaah – easy-to-understand example of how the differences in the transmitted recitations can add to the meaning of an ayah, as illustrated in these excerpts from the tafsirs of sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee and imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari. Please note that some level of familiarity with Arabic will greatly facilitate understanding this example.

In part of his explanation of surah Maryam, sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following:

قوله تعالى : واذكر في الكتاب موسى إنه كان مخلصا وكان رسولا نبيا ، اعلم أن في قوله ” مخلصا ” قراءتين سبعيتين : قرأه عاصم وحمزة والكسائي بفتح اللام بصيغة اسم المفعول ، والمعنى على هذه القراءة أن الله استخلصه واصطفاه : ويشهد لهذا المعنى قوله تعالى : قال ياموسى إني اصطفيتك على الناس برسالاتي وبكلامي الآية [ 7 \ 144 ] ، ومما يماثل هذه القراءة في القرآن قوله تعالى : إنا أخلصناهم بخالصة ذكرى الدار [ 38 \ 46 ] ، فالذين أخلصهم الله هم المخلصون بفتح اللام . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَاذْكُرْ‌ فِي الْكِتَابِ مُوسَىٰ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مُخْلَصًا وَكَانَ رَ‌سُولًا نَّبِيًّا

And mention in the Book, Moosaa. Indeed, he was mukhlasan, and he was a messenger and a prophet. [19:51]

You should know that there are two different readings of the word mukhlasan that are present in the seven well-known recitations. ‘Aasim, Hamzah, and al-Kasaa’ee recited it with a fathah on the letter laam, which makes it take the form of ism al-maf’ool (direct object). According to this recitation, the meaning is that Allah selected and chose him. And this meaning is attested to by Allah’s statement:

قَالَ يَا مُوسَىٰ إِنِّي اصْطَفَيْتُكَ عَلَى النَّاسِ بِرِ‌سَالَاتِي وَبِكَلَامِي

[Allah] said, “O Moosaa, I have chosen you over the people with My messages and My words…” [7:144]

And among the wordings in the Qur’an which resemble this reading is Allah’s statement:

إِنَّا أَخْلَصْنَاهُم بِخَالِصَةٍ ذِكْرَ‌ى الدَّارِ‌

Indeed, We chose them for an exclusive quality: remembrance of the home (of the Hereafter) [38:46]

For those whom Allah has chosen are the mukhlasoon, with a fathah on the letter laam. Continue reading

Ibrahim’s interactions with his father: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

In surah Maryam, Allah recounts part of the story of Ibrahim and his calling his father and his people to al-Tawheed while he was still a youth. Commenting on part of this story, Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following:

قوله تعالى : قال أراغب أنت عن آلهتي ياإبراهيم لئن لم تنته لأرجمنك واهجرني مليا قال سلام عليك سأستغفر لك ربي إنه كان بي حفيا

Allah’s statement:

قَالَ أَرَ‌اغِبٌ أَنتَ عَنْ آلِهَتِي يَا إِبْرَ‌اهِيمُ ۖ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهِ لَأَرْ‌جُمَنَّكَ ۖ وَاهْجُرْ‌نِي مَلِيًّا * قَالَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ ۖ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ‌ لَكَ رَ‌بِّي ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّا

[His father] said, “Have you no desire for my gods, O Ibrahim? If you do not desist, I will surely stone you, so avoid me for a prolonged time.” * [Ibrahim] said, “Peace be upon you. I will ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. Indeed, He is ever gracious to me. [19:46-47]

بين الله جل وعلا في هاتين الآيتين الكريمتين : أن إبراهيم لما نصح أباه النصيحة المذكورة مع ما فيها من الرفق واللين ، وإيضاح الحق والتحذير من عبادة ما لا يسمع ولا يبصر ، ومن عذاب الله تعالى وولاية الشيطان – خاطبه هذا الخطاب العنيف ، وسماه باسمه ولم يقل له ” يا بني ” في مقابلة قوله له ” يا أبت ” وأنكر عليه أنه راغب عن عبادة الأوثان ، أي : معرض عنها لا يريدها ; لأنه لا يعبد إلا الله وحده جل وعلا ، وهدده بأنه إن لم ينته عما يقوله له ليرجمنه ) قيل بالحجارة وقيل باللسان شتما ( والأول أظهر ، ثم أمره بهجره مليا أي : زمانا طويلا . ـ

In these two noble ayaat Allah clarified that when Ibrahim advised his father with the aforementioned sincere advice [19:42-45] along with what it contained of gentleness and softness, as well as making the truth clear and warning against the worship of those things which can neither hear nor see, and against the punishment of Allah and the alliance of the shaytaan – then his father addressed him with a forceful address and called him by his name rather than saying “O my dear son” to him in response to Ibrahim’s saying “O my dear father” to him, and he rebuked him for his being averse to the worship of idols – meaning, turning away from them and not desiring them since Ibrahim did not worship anything except Allah alone. And his father threatened him that if he did not desist from what he was saying, then he would certainly assault him – it is said with stoning and it is said with abusive speech, and the first opinion is what is apparent. Then his father ordered him to leave him malee’an – meaning a long period of time.

ثم بين أن إبراهيم قابل أيضا جوابه العنيف بغاية الرفق واللين في قوله : قال سلام عليك سأستغفر لك ربي الآية [ 19 \ 47 ] ، وخطاب إبراهيم لأبيه الجاهل بقوله : سلام عليك قد بين جل وعلا أنه خطاب عباده المؤمنين للجهال إذا خاطبوهم ، كما قال تعالى : وعباد الرحمن الذين يمشون على الأرض هونا وإذا خاطبهم الجاهلون قالوا سلاما [ 25 \ 63 ] ، وقال تعالى : وإذا سمعوا اللغو أعرضوا عنه وقالوا لنا أعمالنا ولكم أعمالكم سلام عليكم لا نبتغي الجاهلين [ 28 \ 55 ] ، ـ

Then Allah also clarified that Ibrahim responded to his father’s forceful answer with the utmost of gentleness and softness in his own statement:

قَالَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ ۖ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ‌ لَكَ رَ‌بِّي ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّا

[Ibrahim] said, “Peace be upon you. I will ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. Indeed, He is ever gracious to me. [19:47]

And Ibrahim responded to his ignorant father with his own statement of, “peace be upon you” – Allah has clarified that that is the speech of the his believing slaves to the ignorant ones when the address them, just as He said: Continue reading

The story of ‘Eesaa, his mother, Zakariyyah and Yahya – Imam al-Sa’di

In his book of thematic tafsir, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di collected the details of the story of the prophet ‘Eesaa (Jesus), his mother Maryam (Mary), his uncle Zakariyyah (Zechariah) and his cousin Yahya (John) together along with a number of benefits from their stories together in one chapter, as follows:

 قصة عيسى وأمه ، وزكريا ويحيى عليهم السلام

The story of ‘Eesaa and his mother, and Zakariyyah and Yahya (‘alaihim al-salaam)

كانت زوجة عمران – وهو من أكابر بني إسرائيل ورؤسائهم وذوي المقامات العالية عندهم – نذرت حين ظهر حملها أن تحرر ما في بطنها لبيت المقدس، يكون خادما لبيت الله، مُعَدًّا لعبادة الله، ظنا أن الذي في بطنها ذكر، فلما وضعتها قالت معتذرة إلى الله شاكية إليه الحال : [ رَ‌بِّ إِنِّي وَضَعْتُهَا أُنثَىٰ وَاللَّـهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتْ وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ‌ كَالْأُنثَىٰ ]  أي أن الذكر الذي له القوة والقدرة على ما يراد منه من القيام بخدمة بيت المقدس

There was the wife of ‘Imran – who was one of the esteemed people and leaders of Banu Israa’eel (Children of Israel) and he held a high position in their eyes – Continue reading

“And mention in the Book, Ismaa’eel”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Throughout surah Maryam, Allah presents a number of portraits of some of those whom He has honored with revelation. On Ismaa’eel, the son of Ibrahim, Allah says the following:

وَاذْكُرْ‌ فِي الْكِتَابِ إِسْمَاعِيلَ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صَادِقَ الْوَعْدِ وَكَانَ رَ‌سُولًا نَّبِيًّا  وَكَانَ يَأْمُرُ‌ أَهْلَهُ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ وَكَانَ عِندَ رَ‌بِّهِ مَرْ‌ضِيًّا

And mention in the Book, Ismaa’eel. Indeed, he was true to his promise, and he was a messenger and a prophet. And he used to enjoin on his people prayer and zakaah, and he was pleasing to his Lord. [19:54-55]

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

أي‏:‏ واذكر في القرآن الكريم، هذا النبي العظيم، الذي خرج منه الشعب العربي، أفضل الشعوب وأجلها، الذي منهم سيد ولد آدم‏.‏

Meaning: and mention this great messenger in the Noble Qur’an, out of whom came the Arab people, the best people and era, from amongst whom is the sayyid (master) of the offspring of Adam [i.e. the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)].

‏{‏إِنَّهُ كَانَ صَادِقَ الْوَعْدِ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ لا يعد وعدا إلا وفى به‏.‏ وهذا شامل للوعد الذي يعقده مع الله أو مع العباد، ولهذا لما وعد من نفسه الصبر على ذبح أبيه ‏[‏له‏}‏ وقال‏:‏ ‏{‏سَتَجِدُنِي إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ‏}‏ وفى بذلك ومكن أباه من الذبح، الذي هو أكبر مصيبة تصيب الإنسان، ثم وصفه بالرسالة والنبوة، التي ‏[‏هي‏}‏ أكبر منن الله على عبده، وأهلها من الطبقة العليا من الخلق‏.‏

Indeed, he was true to his promise” – meaning: he did not make a promise except that he fulfilled it. And this is inclusive of the promises which he joined into with Allah, or with the slaves (of Allah), and hence when he made the promise of himself to have sabr (patience, steadfastness, moral fortitude) in the face of his father’s [intention of] slaughtering him, and he said, “You will find me, if Allah wills, among the steadfast” [37:102]. And in that and allowing his father to carry out [his intention for] the slaughter, is the greatest of calamitous tests which has tested man. Then He describes him with risaalah (messengership) and nubuwwah (prophethood), which are the greatest bounties of Allah upon his slaves, and those who possess it are among the highest rank of the creation.

‏{‏وَكَانَ يَأْمُرُ أَهْلَهُ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ كان مقيما لأمر الله على أهله، فيأمرهم بالصلاة المتضمنة للإخلاص للمعبود، وبالزكاة المتضمنة للإحسان إلى العبيد، فكمل نفسه، وكمل غيره، وخصوصا أخص الناس عنده وهم أهله، لأنهم أحق بدعوته من غيرهم‏.‏ ‏{‏وَكَانَ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِ مَرْضِيًّا‏}‏ وذلك بسبب امتثاله لمراضي ربه واجتهاده فيما يرضيه، ارتضاه الله وجعله من خواص عباده وأوليائه المقربين، فرضي الله عنه، ورضي ‏[‏هو‏}‏ عن ربه‏.‏

And he used to enjoin on his people prayer and zakaah” – meaning: he was established the command of Allah upon his people. So he commanded them with the salaah which includes ikhlaas (sincerity) to the One who is worshiped, and with zakaah which includes ihsaan (excellent behavior) to the slaves (of Allah), so it perfects oneself, and it perfects others. And the specifically those with him are specified, and they are his people, because they have more right to his da’wah than others.

And he was pleasing to his Lord”  and that is because of his adherence to the pleasure of his Lord and striving in what is pleasing to Him. Allah was pleased with him and made him among those of His distinguished slaves and His close awliyaa’, so Allah was pleased with him and he was pleased with his Lord.

  [Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman]

See also: Two Qur’anic proofs that Ismaa’eel is the sacrificed son: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: The Definition of Sabr: Imam al-Sa’di

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

See also: The great blessing of being a guiding leader: Tafsir al-Sa’di