Links Between Surah Yunus and Surah Hud: Sheikh Muhammad al-Rabee’ah

Sheikh Muhammad al-Rabee’ah, a professor in the College of Shree’ah at al-Qasim University, devoted one of his books to the study of themes of surahs. In one section on the link between a surah‘s name and its theme, the sheikh gave the following example:

وفي سورة يونس تركيز على الموعظة والدعوة بالترغيب ولذلك افتتحت بالتذكير بآيات الله تعالى وحال المكذبين بها، وتخلل ذلك عرض للطف الله تعالى بأوليائه، وعباده المؤمنين والتائبين، وتضمنت الموعظة بالقرآن كما قال تعالى (يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُم مَّوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَشِفَاءٌ لِّمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ ) ]يونس: 57 [، ولذلك تضمنت قصة قوم يونس الذين آمنوا بعد ما دعاهم يونس وهددهم بالعذاب فكشف الله عنهم العذاب، فهذه القصة هي النموذج الإيجابي للغرض الذي تركز عليه السورة. ـ

Surah Yunus contains a focus on exhortations and calling the people to Islam through glad tidings and inspiring hope. That is why it begins with a reminder of Allah’s signs and how those who deny them respond to them. This is interspersed with mentions of Allah’s kindness towards His close ones and repentant believing slaves. And exhortations are a part of the Qur’an, as Allah said:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُم مَّوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَشِفَاءٌ لِّمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

O mankind, an exhortation has come to you from your Lord, and a healing for what it is the chests, and a guidance and a mercy for the believers. [10:57]

That is why this surah includes the story of the people of Yunus who believed after Yunus had supplicated for their punishment and informed them of it, and then Allah lifted the punishment from them. So this story is a positive example of the central theme of this surah. Continue reading

Becoming Deceived by This Life: Ibn al-Qayyim

Allah strikes the follow parable in surah Yunus:

إِنَّمَا مَثَلُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَاءٍ أَنزَلْنَاهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فَاخْتَلَطَ بِهِ نَبَاتُ الْأَرْضِ مِمَّا يَأْكُلُ النَّاسُ وَالْأَنْعَامُ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَخَذَتِ الْأَرْضُ زُخْرُفَهَا وَازَّيَّنَتْ وَظَنَّ أَهْلُهَا أَنَّهُمْ قَادِرُونَ عَلَيْهَا أَتَاهَا أَمْرُنَا لَيْلًا أَوْ نَهَارًا فَجَعَلْنَاهَا حَصِيدًا كَأَن لَّمْ تَغْنَ بِالْأَمْسِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

The example of this worldly life is like water which We have sent down from the sky which then mixed with the earth’s vegetation, which people and beasts of burden then eat. Then, when the earth has taken on its adornment and become beautiful and its people think that they have control over it, Our command comes by night or by day and We make it barren, as if it had not been there yesterday. In this way do We explain the signs for people who reflect. [10:24]

Commenting on this in a longer discussion on the parables of the Qur’an, the great scholar ibn al-Qayyim wrote:

شبه سبحانه الحياة الدنيا في أنها تتزين في عين الناظر فتروقه بزينتها وتعجبه فيميل إليها ويهواها اغترارا منه بها حتى إذا ظن أنه مالك لها قادر عليها سلبها بغتة أحوج ما كان إليها وحيل بينه وبينها

Allah has made this comparison to the life of this world in that this worldly life appears beautiful to the eye of the beholder and he is pleased and impressed with its beauty and thus finds himself inclined to it and captivated by it, so much so that he becomes deceived by it. Then once he thinks that he has control and ownership over it, suddenly it is taken away from him just he needs it the most and he cannot get it back.

فشبهها بالأرض الذي ينزل الغيث عليها فتعشب ويحسن نباتها ويروق منظرها للناظر فيغتر به ويظن أنه قادر عليها مالك لها فيأتيها أمر الله فتدرك نباتها الآفة بغتة فتصبح كأن لم تكن قبل فيخيب ظنه وتصبح يداه صفرا منهما فهكذا حال الدنيا والواثق بها سواءوهذا من أبلغ التشبيه والقياس. ـ

So Allah compared this to the earth upon which the rain falls and then grows vegetation which becomes beautiful and pleasing to look at until the beholder becomes deceived into thinking that he has power and ownership over it. Then the command of Allah comes and the plants are suddenly struck with disease and it becomes as if they were never there. So his thinking had betrayed him and he winds up empty-handed.

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“O our Lord, do not make us a trial for the wrongdoing people”: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah recounts part of the story of Moosaa in surah Yunus in which Moosaa addresses his people by saying:

وَقَالَ مُوسَىٰ يَا قَوْمِ إِن كُنتُمْ آمَنتُم بِاللَّـهِ فَعَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلُوا إِن كُنتُم مُّسْلِمِينَ * فَقَالُوا عَلَى اللَّـهِ تَوَكَّلْنَا رَبَّنَا لَا تَجْعَلْنَا فِتْنَةً لِّلْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ * وَنَجِّنَا بِرَحْمَتِكَ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ

And Moosaa said, “O my people, if you have believed in Allah, then place your trust in Him, if you are Muslims.” * So they said, “In Allah do we place our trust. O our Lord, do not make us a trial for the wrongdoing people * And save us by Your mercy from the disbelieving people.” [10:84-86]

There have been a number of different interpretations of the supplication, “do not make us a trial for the wrongdoing people.” Ibn al-Jawzi summarized the different opinions transmitted from the salaf regarding the meaning of this supplication as follows:

وفي قوله : ” لا تجعلنا فتنة ” ثلاثة أقوال : ـ

There are three different opinions regarding Allah’s statement:

لَا تَجْعَلْنَا فِتْنَةً

do not make us a trial

أحدها : لا تهلكنا بعذاب على أيدي قوم فرعون ، ولا بعذاب من قبلك ، فيقول قوم فرعون : لو كانوا على حق ما عذبوا ولا سلطنا عليهم . ـ

○ First: Do not destroy us with afflictions at the hands of the people of Fir’awn, nor by a punishment coming from You. For the people of Fir’awn said, “If they were upon the truth, then they would not have been subjected to suffering nor would we have been given power over them.”

والثاني : لا تسلطهم علينا فيفتنونا والقولان مرويان عن مجاهد . ـ

○ Second: Do not place them in power over us, in which case they would subject us to a trial. And both the first and second opinions have been relayed from Mujaahid. Continue reading

“Except the people of Yunus”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah Yunus, Allah informs His slaves of the following point:

فَلَوْلَا كَانَتْ قَرْ‌يَةٌ آمَنَتْ فَنَفَعَهَا إِيمَانُهَا إِلَّا قَوْمَ يُونُسَ لَمَّا آمَنُوا كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُمْ عَذَابَ الْخِزْيِ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَمَتَّعْنَاهُمْ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ

“Then has there not been one city that believed so its faith benefited it except the people of Yunus? When they believed, We removed from them the punishment of disgrace in worldly life and gave them enjoyment for a time.” [10:98]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, wrote the following on this ayah:

يقول تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏فَلَوْلَا كَانَتْ قَرْيَةٌ‏}‏ من قرى المكذبين ‏{‏آمَنَتْ‏}‏ حين رأت العذاب ‏{‏فَنَفَعَهَا إِيمَانُهَا‏}‏ أي‏:‏ لم يكن منهم أحد انتفع بإيمانه، حين رأى العذاب، كما قال تعالى عن فرعون ما تقدم قريبًا، لما قال‏:‏ ‏{‏آمَنْتُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا الَّذِي آمَنَتْ بِهِ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَنَا مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ‏}‏ فقيل له ‏{‏آلْآنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنْتَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ‏}‏

Allah’s statement, “Then has there not been one city” from the cities of the deniers “that believed” when it saw the punishment “so its faith benefited it” – meaning: there was never even one of them that benefited from their eemaan (faith) when they saw the punishment, just as He said concerning Fir’awn when the punishment approached him and he said, “I believe that there is no deity except that in whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am of the Muslims” [10:90], and then it was said to him, “What! now! and indeed you disobeyed before and you were of the mischief-makers” [10:91].

وكما قال تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏فَلَمَّا رَأَوْا بَأْسَنَا قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَحْدَهُ وَكَفَرْنَا بِمَا كُنَّا بِهِ مُشْرِكِينَ فَلَمْ يَكُ يَنْفَعُهُمْ إِيمَانُهُمْ لَمَّا رَأَوْا بَأْسَنَا سُنَّةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي قَدْ خَلَتْ فِي عِبَادِهِ‏}‏

And similarly He said, “And when they saw Our punishment, they said, ‘We believe in Allah alone and disbelieve in that which we used to associate with Him.But never did their faith benefit them once they saw Our punishment. [It is] the established way of Allah which has preceded among His servants.” [40:84-84]

وقال تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ رَبِّ ارْجِعُونِ لَعَلِّي أَعْمَلُ صَالِحًا فِيمَا تَرَكْتُ كَلَّا‏}‏

And He said, “Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: ‘My Lord! Send me back, so that I may do good in that which I have left behind!‘”

والحكمة في هذا ظاهرة، فإن الإيمان الاضطراري، ليس بإيمان حقيقة، ولو صرف عنه العذاب والأمر الذي اضطره إلى الإيمان، لرجع إلى الكفران‏.‏

And the wisdom in this is apparent, for if eemaan is compelled, then it is not true eemaan. And if the punishment and the affair which compelled him to eemaan were to turn away from him, then he would return to disbelief. 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:

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“In that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate”

Allah, سبحانه وتعالى , says in His Book

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُم مَّوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّ‌بِّكُمْ وَشِفَاءٌ لِّمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ‌ وَهُدًى وَرَ‌حْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ  قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّـهِ وَبِرَ‌حْمَتِهِ فَبِذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَ‌حُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ‌ مِّمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ

O mankind, there has to come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the chests and guidance and mercy for the believers. Say, “In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate.” [10:57-58]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his tafsir, writes,

يقول تعالى – مرغباً للخلق في الإقبال على هذا الكتاب الكريم , بذكر أوصافه الحسنة الضرورية للعباد فقال (يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُم مَّوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّ‌بِّكُمْ) أي : تعظكم , وتنذركم عن الاعمال الموجبة والآجل , لمن اهتدى به , فالهدى أجل الوسائل , والرحمة أكمال المقاصد والرغائب , و لكن لا يهتدي به ,ولا يكون رحمة إلا في حق المؤمنين.

Allah said – encouraging the creation in drawing near to al-Qur’an al-Kareem, by mentioning its good qualities and the servant’s great need for it- he said, “O mankind, there has to come to you instruction from your Lord.” Meaning: to stress the importance and to incite man towards necessary deeds and the future. Whoever is guided by it, then the guidance has done its task, and the mercy has fulfilled its objectives. But if one is not guided by it, then only the true believer will receive mercy.

وإذا حصل الهدى وحلت الرحمة الناشئة عنه , حصلت السعادة والفلاح ,والربح والنجاح , و الفرح والسرور .

And if there is guidance and the mercy which comes with that, there is happiness and success, profit and salvation, and delight and joy.

ولذلك أمر تعالى بالفرح بذلك فقال (قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّـهِ) الذي هو القرآن , الذي هو أعظم نعمة و منة , وفضل تفضل الله به على عباده (وَبِرَ‌حْمَتِهِ) الدين والإيمان , وعبادة الله ومحيته ومعرفته . (فَبِذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَ‌حُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ‌ مِّمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ) من متاع الدنيا والذاتها.

Therefore Allah commanded us to delight in that [i.e. that Allah has revealed Guidance to us] and He said, “Say, ‘In the bounty of Allah’” which is the Qur’an, and it is the greatest blessings and grace, and a great bounty with which Allah has favored his servants. “and in His mercy” meaning the deen and emaan, and the worship of Allah, and love and recognition of Him. “in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate” from the pleasures of this world.

فنعمة الدين المتصلة بسعادة الدارين , لا نسبة بينهما و بين جميع ما في الدنيا , مما هو مضمحل زائل عن قريب .

So the blessing of the deen is related to happiness in the two realms (the here and the hereafter). There is no comparison between the hereafter and all of what this worldly life contains, and it is quickly disappearing.

وإنما أمر الله تعالى بالفرح بفضله ورحمته , لأن ذلك مما يوجب انبساط النفس ونشاطها وشكرها لله تعالى , وقوتها , وشدة الرغبة في العلم والإيمان الداعي للاازدياد منهما , وهذا فرح محمود , بخلاف الفرح بشهواث الدنيا والذانها , أو فرح بالباطل , فإن هذا مذموم كما قال تعالى عن قوم قارون له (لَا تَفْرَحْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفَرِحِينَ).

But Allah has commanded us to delight in his bounty and mercy, because that is something which necessitates joy and enthusiasm and gratefulness to Allah, and inner fortitude, and a strong desire for ‘ilm and emaan which calls for increasing in them. And this delight is praiseworthy, as opposed to the delight of worldly caprice, of the delights of falsehood, for those are blameworthy as Allah has said that the people of Musa said to Qaruun, “Do not exult. Indeed, Allah does not like the exultant.” [28:76]

و كما قال تعالى في الذين فرحوا بما عندهم من الباطل والمناقض لما جاءت به الرسل (فَلَمَّا جَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُمْ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَرِحُوا بِمَا عِنْدَهُمْ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ).

And this is as Allah has said concerning those who rejoice in what they have of falsehood and and contradiction when the Messengers came to them, “And when their messengers came to them with clear proofs, they [merely] rejoiced in what they had of knowledge.” [40:83]

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman, p. 366-367]

See also: Two types of despairing of Allah’s Mercy: Imam al-Sa’di