A Command to Be Patient and the Means to Do So: Tafsir al-Sa’di

At the end of surah Taha, Allah says:

وَلَوْلَا كَلِمَةٌ سَبَقَتْ مِن رَّبِّكَ لَكَانَ لِزَامًا وَأَجَلٌ مُّسَمًّى * فَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ غُرُوبِهَا ۖ وَمِنْ آنَاءِ اللَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْ وَأَطْرَافَ النَّهَارِ لَعَلَّكَ تَرْضَىٰ * وَلَا تَمُدَّنَّ عَيْنَيْكَ إِلَىٰ مَا مَتَّعْنَا بِهِ أَزْوَاجًا مِّنْهُمْ زَهْرَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا لِنَفْتِنَهُمْ فِيهِ ۚ وَرِزْقُ رَبِّكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ * وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا ۖ لَا نَسْأَلُكَ رِزْقًا ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكَ ۗ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ

And were it not for a command that has previously come from your Lord and a decreed term, then punishment would be incumbent. * So be patient with what they say and exalt the praises of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting. And also during period of the night give praise, and at the ends of the day, that you may be pleased. * And do not extend your eyes to what He has given to some others, the beauty of this worldly life, in order to test them through it. And the provision of your Lord is better and more lasting. * And enjoin your family to pray and be steadfast in it. We do not ask you for provision; We provide for you. And the good end is a result of al-taqwa. [20:129-132]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote the following commentary of these ayaat:

ـ [وَلَوْلَا كَلِمَةٌ سَبَقَتْ مِن رَّبِّكَ لَكَانَ لِزَامًا وَأَجَلٌ مُّسَمًّى * فَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ غُرُوبِهَا ۖ وَمِنْ آنَاءِ اللَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْ وَأَطْرَافَ النَّهَارِ لَعَلَّكَ تَرْضَىٰ] هذا تسلية للرسول، وتصبير له عن المبادرة إلى إهلاك المكذبين المعرضين، وأن كفرهم وتكذيبهم سبب صالح لحلول العذاب بهم، ولزومه لهم، لأن الله جعل العقوبات سببا وناشئا عن الذنوب، ملازما لها، وهؤلاء قد أتوا بالسبب، ولكن الذي أخره عنهم كلمة ربك، المتضمنة لإمهالهم وتأخيرهم، وضرب الأجل المسمى، فالأجل المسمى ونفوذ كلمة الله، هو الذي أخر عنهم العقوبة إلى إبان وقتها، ولعلهم يراجعون أمر الله، فيتوب عليهم، ويرفع عنهم العقوبة، إذا لم تحق عليهم الكلمة. ـ

وَلَوْلَا كَلِمَةٌ سَبَقَتْ مِن رَّبِّكَ لَكَانَ لِزَامًا وَأَجَلٌ مُّسَمًّى * فَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ غُرُوبِهَا ۖ وَمِنْ آنَاءِ اللَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْ وَأَطْرَافَ النَّهَارِ لَعَلَّكَ تَرْضَىٰ

And were it not for a command that has previously come from your Lord and a decreed term, then punishment would be incumbent. * So be patient with what they say and exalt the praises of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting. And also during period of the night give praise, and at the ends of the day, that you may be pleased.

This is a consolation to the Messenger and something to encourage him to be patient despite how those who deny and turn away throw themselves into peril. It also makes clear that their denial and disbelief are a valid reason for punishment to be unleashed on them and to stay with them. For Allah has created factors which lead to punishment, and these factors arise out of sins and then stay attached to the one who committed them, and these people certainly have put those factors in place for themselves. However the thing which is holding the punishment back from them is the command of your Lord which involves leaving them without punishment for a time. But Allah has already set a fixed time, so it is just that fixed time and the authority of Allah’s command which holds back the punishment from them until its time comes. And perhaps they will return to Allah’s religion, in which case Allah would turn to them in forgiveness and lift the punishment from them, in which case His command would not be actualized.

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A Subtle Point Regarding Adam’s Repentance

One of the valuable books of Badr al-Deen ibn Jamaa’ah (d. 733AH) was Kashf al-Ma’aani fee al-Mutashaabih min al-Mathaani, which focuses on providing explanations for the slight differences in otherwise similar ayaat. He raises and then answers the following question regarding a difference of wordings between the story of Adam as told in surah al-Baqarah and the story as told in surah Taha:

مسألة: قوله تعالى: فَمَنْ تَبِعَ هُدَايَ ، وفى طه: (فَمَنْ اتبِعَ هُدَايَ) ؟ . ـ

Question: In surah al-Baqarah, Allah says:

فَمَن تَبِعَ هُدَايَ

So whoever tabi’a (follows) My guidance … [2:38]

but in surah Taha He says:

فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ

So whoever ittaba’a (follows) My guidance … [20:123]

Why is that?

جوابه: يحتمل والله أعلم أن: (فَعِلَ) التي جاء على وزنها: (تبع) لا يلزم منه مخالفة الفعل قبله (وافتَعَلَ) التي جاء على وزنها: (اتبع) يشعر بتجديد الفعل. وبيان قصة آدم هنا لفعله، فجئ بـ (تَبِعَ هُدَايَ) وفى طه جاء بعد قوله: (وَلَمْ نَجِدْ لَهُ عَزْمًا) (وَعَصَى آدَمُ رَبَّهُ فَغَوَى) فناسب من اتبع، أي: جدد قصد الاتباع. ـ

Response: Allah knows best, but one explanation is that the form I verb which is used in

تَبِعَ

tabi’a (follows) [2:38]

does not imply any change in behavior between this “following” and his previous actions, while the form VIII verb which is used in Continue reading

Do not extend your eyes towards the enjoyment of this world: Imam al-Sa’di

In his book of assorted miscellaneous benefits from the Qur’an, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

قوله تعالى : [ وَلَا تَمُدَّنَّ عَيْنَيْكَ إِلَىٰ مَا مَتَّعْنَا بِهِ أَزْوَاجًا مِّنْهُمْ زَهْرَ‌ةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا لِنَفْتِنَهُمْ فِيهِ ۚ وَرِ‌زْقُ رَ‌بِّكَ خَيْرٌ‌ وَأَبْقَىٰ ] <طه 131> تضمنت التزهيد في الدنيا ، وأن غضارتها وحسنها الذي متع به المترفين ليس لكرامتهم عليه ، وإنما ذلك للابتلاء والاختبار ؛ لينظر أيهم أحسن عملا ، وأيهم أكمل عقلا ، فإن العاقل هو الذي يؤثر النفيس الباقي على الدني الفاني ، ولهذا قال : [ وَرِ‌زْقُ رَ‌بِّكَ ] أي الذي أعده للطائعين الذين لم يذهبوا مع أهل الإتراف في إترافهم ، ولم يغرهم رونق الدنيا وبهجتها الزائلة ، بل نظروا إلى باطن ذلك ، حين نظر الجهال إلى ظاهرها ، وعرفوا المقصود ، ومقدار التفاوت ، ودرجات الأمور فرزق الله لهؤلاء خير وأبقى ، أي أكمل في صنف من أصناف الكمال ، وهو مع ذلك باق لا يزول . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَلَا تَمُدَّنَّ عَيْنَيْكَ إِلَىٰ مَا مَتَّعْنَا بِهِ أَزْوَاجًا مِّنْهُمْ زَهْرَ‌ةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا لِنَفْتِنَهُمْ فِيهِ ۚ وَرِ‌زْقُ رَ‌بِّكَ خَيْرٌ‌ وَأَبْقَىٰ

And do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given as enjoyment to some categories of them, it being the splendor this worldly life by which We test them. And the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring. [20:131]

This ayah highlights being detached regarding this worldly life, and that the luxuries and beautiful things which the affluent ones have been endowed with are not actually a form of honor for them; it is only a trial and a test in order that Allah may see which of them is  best in deeds and which of them is most complete in intellect. For the intelligent one is he who gives priority to the precious things which will last over the lesser things which will pass. That is why He said:

وَرِ‌زْقُ رَ‌بِّكَ

And the provision of your Lord …

– i.e. the provision which He has promised to the obedient ones; those who do no partake in self-indulgence with the indulgent people and who are not deceived by the glamour of this worldly life and its passing pleasures. Rather, they look at the deeper essence of things – while the ignorant ones look at its outward appearances – and they recognize purposes and value of things and how to arrange their priorities. So Allah provides such people with what is Continue reading

Remarks on the Contents of Surah Taha: Ibn Taymiyah

In one of his many writings, Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah mentioned the following:

سورة طه وقال شيخ الإسلام رحمه الله فصل ” سورة طه ” مضمونها تخفيف أمر القرآن وما أنزل الله تعالى من كتبه فهي ” سورة كتبه ” – كما أن مريم ” سورة عباده ورسله ” – افتتحها بقوله : { ما أنزلنا عليك القرآن لتشقى } . . إلى قوله : { تنزيلا ممن خلق الأرض والسماوات العلا } . ثم ذكر قصة موسى ونداء الله له ومناجاته إياه وتكليمه له وقصته من أبلغ أمر الرسل فلهذا ثنيت في القرآن ; لأنه حصل له الخطاب والكتاب وأرسل إلى فرعون الجاحد المرتاب المكذب للربوبية والرسالة وهذا أعظم الكافرين عنادا واستوفى القصة في هذه السورة إلى قوله : { رب زدني علما } ثم ذكر قصة آدم ; لأنها أول النبوات . ـ

The contents of Surah Taha include the ease of the Qur’an and what Allah has sent down in His Books, so it is “the Surah of His Books“, just as Surah Maryam was “the Surah of His servants and messengers”.

The surah opens with Allah’s statement:

مَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْآنَ لِتَشْقَىٰ * إِلَّا تَذْكِرَةً لِّمَن يَخْشَىٰ * تَنزِيلًا مِّمَّنْ خَلَقَ الْأَرْضَ وَالسَّمَاوَاتِ الْعُلَى

We have not sent the Qur’an down to you to cause you to be distressed * But only as a reminder to those who fear * It is a revelation from the One who created the earth and the high heavens [20:2-4]

Then He mentioned the story of Moosaa and Allah’s call to him, His private discussion with him, and His speaking to him.

The story of Moosaa is one of the most amazing things of any the messengers, which is why it is returned to so frequently throughout the Qur’an. For Moosaa was granted both direct speech from Allah as well as a scripture, and Allah sent him to Fir’awn, the incredulous disbelieving denier of both Allah’s lordship and of the fact that Allah sent messengers. He was the gravest of all the disbelievers in his obstinance. So this story occupies this surah until Allah’s statement: Continue reading

“Whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray nor suffer”: Tafsir of Sheikh bin Baaz

In a gathering, the following question was asked to sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz:

 يسأل عن تفسير قول الحق -تبارك وتعالى-: أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم: فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَى* وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَن ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا (123-124) سورة طـه.تفضلوا سماحة الشيخ بتفسير هذه الآيات جزاكم الله خيرا . ـ

A questioner asks about the explanation of Allah’s statement – (I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed shaytaan) – :

فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَىٰ * وَمَنْ أَعْرَ‌ضَ عَن ذِكْرِ‌ي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا

whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray nor suffer. * And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life [20:123-124]

Esteemed sheikh, please provide a tafsir of these ayaat. May Allah reward you with good.

So sheikh bin Baaz gave the following reply:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد لله, وصلى الله وسلم على رسول الله, وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن اهتدى بهداه أما بعد.. فقد ذكر علماء التفسير عند هذه الآية ما يشرح معناها ويوضح معناها قال الله -جل وعلا- في كتابه العظيم في سورة طه: قَالَ اهْبِطَا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَى* وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَن ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا وَنَحْشُرُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَعْمَى (123-124) سورة طـه. قال ابن عباس -رضي الله تعالى عنهما- في الآية, تكفل الله لمن اتبع هدى الله أن لا يضل في الدنيا ولا يشقى في الآخرة, والمعنى أن من اتبع الهدى واستقام على الحق الذي بعث الله به نبيه محمد -عليه الصلاة والسلام- فإنه لا يضل في الدنيا بل يكون مهتدياً مستقيماً ولا يشقى الآخرة بل له الجنة والكرامة . ـ

I begin with the name of Allah, al-Rahman al-Raheem, and may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon the Messenger of Allah, as well as upon his family, his companions, and whoever adheres to his guidance.

To proceed: Concerning this ayah, the scholars of tafsir have mentioned that which opens up its meaning and clarifies it. In His Glorious Book, in surah Taha, Allah said:

قَالَ اهْبِطَا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا ۖ بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ ۖ فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَىٰ * وَمَنْ أَعْرَ‌ضَ عَن ذِكْرِ‌ي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا وَنَحْشُرُ‌هُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَعْمَىٰ

Allah said, “Descend from Paradise – all being enemies to one another. And if there should come to you guidance from Me – then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray nor suffer. * And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind.” [20:123-124]

Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said in regards to his ayah, “Allah promised whoever follows His guidance that He will not misguide him in this worldly life nor will he cause him to suffer in the hereafter.” Meaning that whoever follows the guidance and is firmly upright upon the truth with which Allah sent His prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), then he will not be misguided in this worldly life, rather he will be one who is characterized by guidance and uprightness, and he will not be made to suffer in the hereafter, rather there will be Jannah for him. Continue reading

Four Means of Attaining Allah’s Forgiveness: Imam al-Sa’di

While mentioning some of the benefits derived from the story of Moosaa and Haaroon, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di mentions the following point of clarity and great benefit:

ومنها : أن قوله تعالى :  < وَإِنِّي لَغَفَّارٌ‌ لِّمَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا ثُمَّ اهْتَدَىٰ > استوعب الله بها الأسباب التي تدرك بها مغفرة الله . ـ

And from the benefits is that Allah’s statement:

وَإِنِّي لَغَفَّارٌ‌ لِّمَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا ثُمَّ اهْتَدَىٰ

But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance. [20:82]

With this statement Allah comprises all of the means by which the forgiveness of Allah is reached.

أحدها: التوبة، وهو الرجوع عما يكرهه الله ظاهرا وباطنا إلى ما يحبه الله ظاهرا وباطنا، وهي تَجُبُّ ما قبلها من الذنوب صغارها وكبارها. ـ

First: al-Tawbah (repentance), and that is returning from what Allah hates – both outwardly and inwardly – back towards what Allah loves – both outwardly and inwardly. And this is in respond to what previously occurred in terms of both major and minor sins. Continue reading