Abu Bakr and Umar’s Service to the Qur’an: Tafsir ibn Kathir

al-Haafidh ibn Kathir mentioned the following in the introduction to his tafsir as the second part of his section entitled “The Gathering of the Qur’an” which focused on the preservation and collection of the Qur’an:

قال البخاري : حدثنا موسى بن إسماعيل ، حدثنا إبراهيم بن سعد ، حدثنا ابن شهاب ، عن عبيد بن السباق ، أن زيد بن ثابت قال : أرسل إلي أبو بكر – مقتل أهل اليمامة – فإذا عمر بن الخطاب عنده ، فقال أبو بكر : إن عمر بن الخطاب أتاني ، فقال : إن القتل قد استحر بقراء القرآن ، وإني أخشى أن يستحر القتل بالقراء في المواطن فيذهب كثير من القرآن ، وإني أرى أن تأمر بجمع القرآن . فقلت لعمر : كيف نفعل شيئا لم يفعله رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ؟ قال عمر : هذا والله خير ، فلم يزل عمر يراجعني حتى شرح الله صدري لذلك ، ورأيت في ذلك الذي رأى عمر . قال زيد : قال أبو بكر : إنك رجل شاب عاقل لا نتهمك ، وقد [ ص: 25 ] كنت تكتب الوحي لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فتتبع القرآن فاجمعه ، فوالله لو كلفوني نقل جبل من الجبال ما كان أثقل علي مما أمرني به من جمع القرآن . قلت : كيف تفعلون شيئا لم يفعله رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ؟ قال : هو والله خير . فلم يزل أبو بكر يراجعني حتى شرح الله صدري للذي شرح له صدر أبي بكر وعمر ، رضي الله عنهما . فتتبعت القرآن أجمعه من العسب واللخاف وصدور الرجال ، ووجدت آخر سورة التوبة مع أبي خزيمة الأنصاري لم أجدها مع غيره : ( لقد جاءكم رسول من أنفسكم عزيز ) [ التوبة : 128 ] حتى خاتمة ” براءة ” ، فكانت الصحف عند أبي بكر حتى توفاه الله ، ثم عند عمر حياته ، ثم عند حفصة بنت عمر ، رضي الله عنهم . ـ

al-Bukhari said … that Zayd ibn Thaabit said:

After the Battle of al-Yamamah, Abu Bakr sent for me, and when I arrived, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab was also there with him. Abu Bakr said, “‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab came to me and said, ‘There were a great number of casualties among the reciters of the Qur’an and I fear that more casualties among the reciters will occur in other battles, therefore resulting in a loss of much of the Qur’an. It is my view that you should order that the Qur’an be collected.” I [Abu Bakr] responded to ‘Umar, “How can we do something which Allah’s Messenger did not do?” But ‘Umar said, “I swear by Allah, this is something good,” and ‘Umar kept urging me to do this until Allah opened up my heart to the idea and I saw that good in it that ‘Umar had seen.

Zayd said: Abu Bakr said to me, “You are a young and intelligent man, we do not have any concerns about you, and you used to write the revelation for Allah’s Messenger. So seek out the Qur’an and collect it together.” I swear by Allah, if they had charged me with moving one of the mountains it would not have been heavier on me than this gathering of the Qur’an that they commanded me to do. I said, “How can you do something which Allah’s Messenger did not do?” He said, “I swear by Allah, this is something good.” So Abu Bakr kept urging me to do this until Allah open up my heart to that which He had opened up the hearts of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with both of them). So I sought out the Qur’an, collecting it from palm leads and stones and from people’s memories. I found the end of surah al-Tawbah with Abu Khazaymah al-Ansari and I did not find that with any one other than him, from

لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ

Indeed, a messenger from among yourselves has come to you … [9:128]

until the end of surah al-Baraa’ah [9:128-129]. So the papers on which we recorded the Qur’an remained with Abu Bakr until he passed away, then they stayed with ‘Umar for the remainder of his life, then it went to ‘Umar’s daughter Hafsah – may Allah be pleased with them all. Continue reading

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The Sahabah on Obeying the Muslim Ruler: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In part of his tafsir of surah al-Nur, al-Haafidh Abu’l-Fidaa’ Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir mentioned the following statements of the great mufassir from among the Taabi’oon, Qataadah:

وقال قتادة في هذه الآية : ( أن يقولوا سمعنا وأطعنا ) ذكر لنا أن عبادة بن الصامت – وكان عقبيا بدريا ، أحد نقباء الأنصار – أنه لما حضره الموت قال لابن أخيه جنادة بن أبي أمية : ألا أنبئك بماذا عليك وماذا لك؟ قال : بلى . قال : فإن عليك السمع والطاعة ، في عسرك ويسرك ، ومنشطك ومكرهك ، وأثرة عليك . وعليك أن تقيم لسانك بالعدل ، وألا تنازع الأمر أهله ، إلا أن يأمروك بمعصية الله بواحا ، فما أمرت به من شيء يخالف كتاب الله ، فاتبع كتاب الله . ـ

Regarding the ayah:

إِنَّمَا كَانَ قَوْلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذَا دُعُوا إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَرَ‌سُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَن يَقُولُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۚ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger, to judge between them, is that they say: “We hear and we obey.” And such are the successful ones. [24:51]

Qataadah said:

It was mentioned to us that when ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit – and he was one of the Sahabah who was present for the Pledge of al-‘Aqabah and at the Battle of Badr, and was one of the leaders of the Ansar – was on his deathbed, he said to his nephew Junaadah ibn Abi Umayyah, “Shall I not inform you of what is incumbent upon you?” “Of course!”, his nephew replied.

He said, “Indeed, listening and obeying is mandatory upon you, whether it is regarding something easy for you or difficult, whether in good times or bad, even if the leader were to show favoritism towards certain people over others. And it is incumbent upon you to limit your tongue to speaking with justice, and that you do not dispute with those in authority regarding their commands – unless they command you to perform a clear act of disobedience to Allah. Then, if they command you to do anything which conflicts with the Book of Allah, follow the Book of Allah.” Continue reading

The Sahabah and Tabi’oon known for their Tafsir: al-Suyooti

In his famous work detailing the sciences of the Qur’an, sheikh Jalaal al-Deen al-Suyooti included a section on the different generations of mufassiroon (Qur’anic exegetes). What follows is a condensed and streamlined presentation of the first part of this chapter, as prepared by sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Umar Bazmool:

طبقة الصحابة
The Level of the Sahabah

اشتهر بالتفسير من الصحابة عشرة : الخلفاء الأربعة ، وابن مسعود ، وابن عباس ، وأبي بن كعب ، وزيد بن ثابت ، وأبو موسى الأشعري ، وعبد الله بن الزبير . ـ

Those who are well known among the sahabah for tafsir are ten: the four Khulafaa’ [Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, and ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib], ibn Mas’ood, ibn ‘Abbas, Ubay ibn Ka’b, Zayd ibn Thaabit, Abu Moosaa al-Ash’ari, and ‘Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr.

أما الخلفاء ؛ فأكثر من روي عنه منهم : على بن أبي طالب ، والرواية عن الثلاثة نزرة جداً ، وكان السبب في ذلك تقدم وفاتهم ، كما أن ذلك هو السبب في قلة رواية أبي بكر رضي الله عنه للحديث ، ولا أحفظ عن أبي بكر رضي الله عنه في التفسير إلا آثاراً قليلة جداً ، لا تكاد تجاوز العشرة ، وأما على ؛ فروي عنه الكثير . ـ

As for the Khulafaa’, then the one from whom the most is transmitted is ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib, while what is transmitted from the other three is very little. The reason for that is because those three died earlier, just as that is the reason why there is little in the way of hadeeth narrated from Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), nor was much preserved from Abu Bakr in the way tafsir except for a very few statements which hardly even amount to ten in total. But as for ‘Ali, then a great deal was transmitted from him. Continue reading

al-Qaḍaaʼ and al-Qadr: al-Raghib al-Isfahani

Al-Rāghib al-Isfahāni (d. 502 AH) wrote the following in his famous dictionary of the Qur’an in part of his discussion on the Arabic root for Qaaaʼ [ق ض ى]:

والقضاء من الله تعالى أخَصُّ من القدر , لأنه الفَصلُ بين التقدير , فالقدر هو التقدير والقضاء هو الفصل والقطع ، وقد ذكر بعض العلماء أن القدر بمنزلة المعد للكيل والقضاء بمنزلة الكيل ، وهذا كما قال أبو عبيدة لعمر رضي الله عنهما لما أراد الفرار من الطاعون بالشام : أتفر من القضاء؟! قال : أفر من قضاء الله إلى قدر الله . تنبيهًا أن القدر ما لم يكون قضاء فمرجوٌّ أن يدفعه الله فإذا قضى فلا مدفع له. ويشهد بذلك قوله : وَكَانَ أَمْرً‌ا مَّقْضِيًّا وقوله : كَانَ عَلَىٰ رَ‌بِّكَ حَتْمًا مَّقْضِيًّا و قوله : وَقُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ أي فُصِلَ تنبيهاً ‌أنه صار بحيث لا يمكن تلافيه

The Qaaaʼ of Allah is more specific than the Qadr, because it is the execution which fulfills the decree. So al-Qadr is the decree and al-Qaaaʼ is the execution and fulfillment. And it has been mentioned by some of the scholars that al-Qadr is the station of destining the measure while al-Qaaaʼ is the station of the measure (itself, i.e. its actualization). Continue reading

Questions and Answers on Tawbah from Ibn Taymiyah

As it comes in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa of Ibn Taymiyah:

وسئل رحمه الله عن قوله : { ما أصر من استغفر وإن عاد في اليوم والليلة سبعين مرة } . ـ

And he – may Allah have mercy on him – was asked about the statement of the Prophet, “Nothing persists for the one who makes istighfaar (seeking Allah’s forgiveness) even if he returns (to the sin) seventy times in a day and a night.”

هل المراد ذكر الاستغفار باللفظ ؟ أو أنه إذا استغفر ينوي بالقلب أن لا يعود إلى الذنب ؟ وهل إذا تاب من الذنب وعزم بالقلب أن لا يعود إليه وأقام مدة ثم وقع فيه أفيكون ذلك الذنب القديم يضاف إلى الثاني ؟ أو يكون مغفورا بالتوبة المتقدمة ؟ وهل التائب من شرب الخمر ولبس الحرير يشربه في الآخرة ؟ ويلبس الحرير في الآخرة ؟ والتوبة النصوح ما شرطها ؟ . ـ

Is the intended meaning of al-istighfaar mentioning its wording? Or is that when one seeks forgiveness while intending in his heart not to return to that sin?

And if one repents from a sin and resolves in his heart not to return to it and is established on this for a period of them but then it does occur, then is that previous sin added to that later one, or is it forgiven by way of the previous tawbah?

And will the one who repented from drinking alcohol and wearing silk drink it in the hereafter and wear silk in the hereafter?

And sincere tawbah – what are its conditions?

So he responded: Continue reading

Two things for which there are no concessions

Following the great victory for the Muslims at the Battle of al-Qaadisiyyah, Ameer al-Mu’mineen ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab wrote a letter to his commander Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas wherein he said:

أما بعد فإن الله جل وعلا أنزل في كل شيء رخصة في بعد الحالات إلا في أمريم : العدل في السيرة والذكر. فأما الذكر فلا رخصة فيه في حال ، ولم يرض منه إلا كثير . وأما العدل فلا رخصة فيه في قريب ولا بعيد ، ولا في شدة ولا في رجاء. والعدل – وإن رئي لينًا – فهو أقوى وأطفأ للجور ، وأقمع للباطل من الجور

“To proceed: Verily Allah has provided concessions for everything in certain circumstances, except for two things: Justice and Dhikr. As for dhikr (remembrance of Allah), there is no concession under any circumstances and Allah is not pleased with anything except a great deal of it. And as for justice; there is no concession in it, neither at times of hardship nor ease. And justice – even if it appears soft – it is stronger than injustice and is more able to suppress falsehood than injustice.”

[Taareekh al-Tabari 4/410]

See also: “If there had been a concession for anyone in leaving off dhikr…”

See also: “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: “O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Everything has two ends and a middle

Those who tasted evil may love good all the more: Ibn Taymiyah

In part of his long discussion of the du’a of Dhu’l-Noon (Prophet Yunus), Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah wrote the following points concerning the relative merits of those born into Islam and those who enter into it later in life:

وما يظنه بعض الناس أنه من ولد على الإسلام فلم يكفر قط أفضل ممن كان كافرا فأسلم ليس بصواب ; بل الاعتبار بالعاقبة وأيهما كان أتقى لله في عاقبته كان أفضل . فإنه من المعلوم أن السابقين الأولين من المهاجرين والأنصار الذين آمنوا بالله ورسوله بعد كفرهم هم أفضل ممن ولد على الإسلام من أولادهم وغير أولادهم ; بل من عرف الشر وذاقه ثم عرف الخير وذاقه [ ص: 301 ] فقد تكون معرفته بالخير ومحبته له ومعرفته بالشر وبغضه له أكمل ممن لم يعرف الخير والشر ويذقهما كما ذاقهما ; بل من لم يعرف إلا الخير فقد يأتيه الشر فلا يعرف أنه شر فإما أن يقع فيه وإما أن لا ينكره كما أنكره الذي عرفه . ـ

What some people think that the one born upon Islam and does not commit kufr ever is better than the one who was a kaafir and then becomes a Muslim – this is not correct. Rather, the criteria is in the outcome, and the one who has more taqwa of Allah in his final end – he is better. That is because it is known that the forerunners from the Muhaajireen and the Ansaar who believed in Allah and His messenger after they had disbelieved are better than those who were born upon Islam and their children and other than their children. Rather, the one who knew evil and tasted it and then knew the good and tasted it, then his recognition of the good and his love for it and his recognition of evil and his hatred of it is more complete than the one who does not know good and evil and has not tasted it as he has tasted it. Rather, the one who does not know anything other than good, perhaps evil will come to him and he will not recognize that it is evil, and he may either fall into it or he may not reject it as the one who knew it would reject it. Continue reading

Abu Bakr’s and Umar’s visit to Umm Ayman: Sharh al-Nawawi

In his chapter on the virtues on the sahaabah, imam Muslim mentions the following narration concerning the virtues of Umm Ayman:

عَنْ أَنَسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ رضى الله عنه بَعْدَ وَفَاةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لِعُمَرَ انْطَلِقْ بِنَا إِلَى أُمِّ أَيْمَنَ نَزُورُهَا كَمَا كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَزُورُهَا ‏.‏ فَلَمَّا انْتَهَيْنَا إِلَيْهَا بَكَتْ فَقَالاَ لَهَا مَا يُبْكِيكِ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لِرَسُولِهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏.‏ فَقَالَتْ مَا أَبْكِي أَنْ لاَ أَكُونَ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لِرَسُولِهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَلَكِنْ أَبْكِي أَنَّ الْوَحْىَ قَدِ انْقَطَعَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ ‏.‏ فَهَيَّجَتْهُمَا عَلَى الْبُكَاءِ فَجَعَلاَ يَبْكِيَانِ مَعَهَا

Anas reported that after the death of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) Abu Bakr said to ‘Umar, “Let us visit Umm Aiman as Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to visit her.” When we came to her, she was weeping. They (Abu Bakr and Umar) said to her, “What makes you weep? What is with Allah is better for the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).” She said, “I weep not because I do not know of the fact that what is with Allah is better for the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), but I weep because the revelation which came from the Heaven has ceased to come. This moved both of them to tears and they began to weep along with her.

[Saheeh Muslim #2454]

Imam al-Nawawi, in his commentary on Saheeh Muslim mentions the following points of benefit concerning the permissible and recommended activities which are derived from this hadeeth:

قوله : ( قال أبو بكر بعد وفاة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لعمر رضي الله عنه : انطلق بنا إلى أم أيمن نزورها ، كما كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يزورها ) فيه زيارة الصالحين وفضلها ، وزيارة الصالح لمن هو دونه ، وزيارة الإنسان لمن كان صديقه يزوره ، ولأهل ود صديقه ، وزيارة جماعة من الرجال للمرأة الصالحة ، وسماع كلامها ، واستصحاب العالم والكبير صاحبا له في الزيارة ، والعيادة ، ونحوهما . والبكاء حزنا على فراق الصالحين والأصحاب ، وإن كانوا قد انتقلوا إلى أفضل مما كانوا عليه . والله أعلم .

His statement, “Abu Bakr said to ‘Umar, ‘Let us visit Umm Aiman as Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to visit her.‘” This includes (the permission and/or recommendation of):

-visiting the righteous people and the virtue of that;
-the righteous person visiting those who are less (righteous) than him;
-people visiting those who their friends used to visit and (visiting) the dearly beloved people of their friend;
-a group of men visiting a righteous woman and listening to her speech;
-for the scholar or elder to bring along a companion with him in his visits, habitual activities, etc;
-weeping out of sadness over the loss of righteous people and companions [whether by death or separation], even if they have moved on to a better condition than that which they were previously in.

And Allah knows best.

[Sharh al-Nawawi ‘alaa Saheeh Muslim #2454]

“Whoever stands Ramadan with eemaan and ihtisaab, his previous sins will be forgiven”: Sharh al-Nawawi

Imam Muslim records that Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

مَنْ قَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ

Whoever stands Ramadan [i.e. in optional night prayers] with eemaan and iḥtisaab, his previous sins will be forgiven.

[Saheeh Muslim #759]

Imam al-Nawawi, in his commentary on this hadeeth, wrote:

قوله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – : ( من قام رمضان إيمانا واحتسابا ) معنى ( إيمانا ) تصديقا بأنه حق مقتصد فضيلته ، ومعنى ( احتسابا ) أن يريد الله تعالى وحده لا يقصد رؤية الناس ، ولا غير ذلك مما يخالف الإخلاص . ) .

His (ﷺ) statement, “Whoever stands Ramadan with eemaan and iḥtisaab”. ‘With eemaan‘ means believing that it is true and intending its blessings, and ‘with iḥtisaab‘ means that one desires Allah the Exalted alone and does not intend being seen by the people nor anything else which contradicts ikhlaaṣ (sincerity). Continue reading

“And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

Allah commands His slaves in surah al-Hashr:

وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّ‌سُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا

“And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain.” [59:7]

Imam al-Qurtubi, in his book of tafsir, mentions this ayah and writes:

وقال ابن جريج‏:‏ ما آتاكم من طاعتي فافعلوه، وما نهاكم عنه من معصيتي فاجتنبوه‏.‏ الماوردي‏:‏ وقيل إنه محمول على العموم في جميع أوامره ونواهيه؛ لا يأمر إلا بصلاح ولا ينهى إلا عن فساد‏.‏ قلت‏:‏ هذا هو معنى القول الذي قبله‏.‏ فهي ثلاثة أقوال‏.‏

Ibn Juraij said, “Whatever he gives you of obedience, then do it, and whatever he forbids you of disobedience, then avoid it.” al-Maawardi said, “And it is said that this statement is applied generally to all of his [the Messenger’s] commands and prohibitions. He does not command anything except what brings good and he does not prohibit anything except for what is corrupt.” I [Imam al-Qurtubi] say, “What has preceded is the meaning of this statement, and there are three statements [about this which will follow].”

 قال المهدوي‏:‏ قوله تعالى‏{‏وما آتاكم الرسول فخذوة وما نهاكم عنه فانتهوا‏}‏ هذا يوجب أن كل ما أمر به النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أمر من الله تعالى‏.‏ والآية وإن كانت في الغنائم فجميع أوامره صلى الله عليه وسلم ونواهيه دخل فيها‏.‏ وقال الحكم بن عمير – وكانت له صحبة – قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم‏:‏ ‏(‏إن هذا القرآن صعب مستصعب عسير على من تركه يسير على من اتبعه وطلبه‏.‏ وحديثي صعب مستصعب وهو الحكم فمن استمسك بحديثي وحفظه نجا مع القرآن‏.‏ ومن تهاون بالقرآن وحديثي خسر الدنيا والآخرة‏.‏ وأمرتم أن تأخذوا بقولي وتكتنفوا أمري وتتبعوا سنتي فمن رضي بقولي فقد رضي بالقرآن ومن استهزأ بقولي فقد استهزأ بالقرآن قال الله تعالى‏{‏وما آتاكم الرسول فخذوة وما نهاكم عنه فانتهوا‏}‏‏)‏

Al-Mahdoui said, “Allah’s statement, ‘And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain,‘ this necessitates that everything that the Prophet (ﷺ) commanded is a command from Allah the Exalted. And the ayah, even though it is about the spoils of war, applies to all commands of the Prophet (ﷺ) and his prohibitions.”… Continue reading