And Tell the Believing Women Not to Show off Their Adornment, Except for What is Apparent: ibn Taymiyah

Allah commands the believing women in surah al-Nur by saying:

وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا

… and tell the believing women not to show off their adornment except for that which is apparent [24:31]

The phrase “except for that which is apparent” has been explained in a number of ways by the salaf. The great scholar Abu’l-Faraj Ibn al-Jawzi summarized the different positions in his tafsir where he wrote:

قوله تعالى: ولا يبدين زينتهن أي: لا يظهرنها لغير محرم . وزينتهن على ضربين، خفية كالسوارين والقرطين والدملج والقلائد ونحو ذلك، وظاهرة وهي المشار إليها بقوله: إلا ما ظهر منها وفيه سبعة أقوال . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا

… and tell the believing women not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent [24:31]

meaning, to not display these things to non-mahrams. And there are two types of women’s adornment, or zeenah. There is the hidden zeenah such as ankle bracelets, earrings, bracelets, necklaces and so on, and then there is the apparent zeenah, which is what is being referred to in Allah’s statement here, and there are seven different opinions as to what this means:

أحدهما: أنها الثياب، رواه أبو الأحوص عن ابن مسعود; وفي لفظ آخر قال: هو الرداء . والثاني: أنها الكف والخاتم والوجه . والثالث: الكحل والخاتم، رواهما سعيد بن جبير عن ابن عباس . والرابع: القلبان، وهما السواران والخاتم والكحل، قاله المسور بن مخرمة . والخامس: الكحل والخاتم والخضاب، قاله مجاهد . والسادس: الخاتم والسوار، قاله الحسن . والسابع: الوجه والكفان، قاله الضحاك . ـ

1. Her clothing. Abu al-Ahwas transmitted this explanation from ibn Mas’ood, and in another narration he said that it meant her outer shawl covering.

2. Her hands, ring and face.

3. Her kohol [eye-liner] and ring. Sa’eed ibn Jubayr transmitted both explanations 2 and 3 from ibn ‘Abbaas. Continue reading

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What to do when Multiple “Reasons for Revelation” are Mentioned for the Same Ayah?: al-Suyooti

In his famous manual of the Qur’anic science, Imam Jalal al-Deen al-Suyooti included a chapter dealing with the sub-field of the Asbab al-Nuzool or the “Reasons for Revelation”. He dedicated one part of that chapter to how describing how to approach multiple differing reports of the reasons for revelation about a single ayah, providing copious examples. Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool condensed this section to its core contents, which we have translated below:

المسألة الخامسة‏ [إذا تعددت أسباب النزول] : ـ

The Fifth Issue: What to do When Multiple “Reasons for Revelation” are Mentioned?

كثيرا ما يذكر المفسرون لنزول الآية أسبابا متعددة ، وطريق الاعتماد في ذلك أن ينظر إلى العبارة الواقعة : ـ

It frequently happens that the mufassiroon will mention multiple reasons for the revelation of a single ayah. A reliable way to approach such a situation is to look at the wording used:

فإن عبر أحدهم بقوله : نزلت في كذا ، والآخر : نزلت في كذا ، وذكر أمرا آخر ، فقد تقدم أن هذا يراد به التفسير لا ذكر سبب النزول ، فلا منافاة بين قوليهما إذا كان اللفظ يتناولهما . ـ

○ If one person used the phrase, “It was revealed about such-and-such” and another said, “It was revealed about such-and-such” while mentioning another situation, then we have already explained that the intended meaning of this phrase is an explanation of the ayah, not mentioning the reason for its revelation. Therefore there is no conflict between the two statements if they both used this wording.

وإن عبر واحد بقوله : نزلت في كذا ، وصرح الآخر بذكر سبب خلافه فهو المعتمد وذاك استنباط . ـ

○ If one person used the phrase, “It was revealed about such-and-such” while another person explicitly mentioned a reason for revelation contrary to that, then the explicit statement should be taken to be the reason for revelation while the other one is just someone deriving a point or benefit related to the ayah.

وإن ذكر واحد سببا وآخر سببا غيره ، فإن كان إسناد أحدهما صحيحا دون الآخر فالصحيح المعتمد . ـ

○ If one person mentions one reason for revelation and another person mentions a different reason for revelation, if the chain of narration for one of these reports is authentic while the other is not, then the one with the authentic chain is taken to be the reason for revelation. Continue reading

The Themes and Contents of Surah Maryam: ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah wrote the following words discussing the major themes of surah Maryam and outlining its contents. We would recommend reading this article with a Qur’an close by in order to better follow the different themes and topics mentioned:

سورة مريم قال شيخ الإسلام رحمه الله فصل ” سورة مريم ” مضمونها : تحقيق عبادة الله وحده وأن خواص الخلق هم عباده فكل كرامة ودرجة رفيعة في هذه الإضافة وتضمنت الرد على الغالين الذين زادوا في النسبة إلى الله حتى نسبوا إليه عيسى بطريق الولادة والرد على المفرطين في تحقيق العبادة وما فيها من الكرامة وجحدوا نعم الله التي أنعم بها على عباده المصطفين . ـ

Surah Maryam includes the following topics:

Affirming worship for Allah alone, and that the best of creation were those who devotedly worshiped Him. For every honor and elevated station lies in this relationship of the creation worshiping the Creator.

This surah also includes a rebuttal of those fanatical people who claim various additional and higher forms of relationship with Allah, to such an extent that they link ‘Eesaa (Jesus) directly to Him as an offspring.

It also includes a refutation of those who go to extremes in their affirmation of sevanthood and who deny the various blessings – such as the miracles given to righteous people – which Allah has bestowed upon His chosen servants.

افتتحها بقوله : { ذكر رحمة ربك عبده زكريا } وندائه ربه نداء خفيا وموهبته له يحيى ثم قصة مريم وابنها وقوله : { إني عبد الله } . . إلخ بين فيها الرد على الغلاة في المسيح وعلى الجفاة النافين عنه ما أنعم الله به عليه ; ثم أمر نبيه بذكر إبراهيم وما دعا إليه من عبادة الله وحده ونهيه إياه عن عبادة الشيطان وموهبته له إسحاق ويعقوب وأنه جعل له لسان صدق عليا وهو الثناء الحسن وأخبر عن يحيى وعيسى وإبراهيم ببر الوالدين مع التوحيد وذكر موسى وموهبته له أخاه هارون نبيا كما وهب يحيى لزكريا وعيسى لمريم وإسحاق لإبراهيم . ـ

Allah begins this surah by saying:

ذِكْرُ رَحْمَتِ رَبِّكَ عَبْدَهُ زَكَرِيَّا

a mention of the mercy of your Lord to His servant Zakariyyah [19:2]

and his calling His Lord with a private supplication, and Allah’s granting him Yahya, and then the story of Maryam and her son, and that son’s statement:

إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّـهِ

Indeed, I am a servant of Allah… [19:30]

until the end of the story. In this part of the surah, Allah makes a clear refutation against those who go to extremes regarding the Messiah, as well as rebutting those ill-mannered ones who deny the various blessings which Allah did bestow upon him. Continue reading

Benefits from the Story of the Mother of Moosaa: Imam al-Sa’di

In his discussion of the story of Moosaa and the benefits derived from it, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di introduced first Moosaa and then summarized and clarified some of the issues related to the mother of Moosaa and the events which occurred during his infancy by writing:

قد ذكر الله لموسى بن عمران ومعه أخوه هارون عليهما السلام سيرة طويلة، وساق قصصه في مواضع من كتابه بأساليب متنوعة واختصار أو بسط يليق بذلك المقام، وليس في قصص القرآن أعظم من قصة موسى؛ لأنه عالج فرعون وجنوده، وعالج بني إسرائيل أشد المعالجة، وهو أعظم أنبياء بني إسرائيل، وشريعته وكتابه التوراة هو مرجع أنبياء بني إسرائيل وعلمائهم وأتباعه أكثر أتباع الأنبياء غير أمة محمد وله من القوة العظيمة في إقامة دين الله والدعوة إليه والغيرة العظيمة ما ليس لغيره ـ

Regarding Moosaa ibn ‘Imraan and along with him his brother Haaroon (‘alaihima al-salaam), Allah has mentioned a long biography, and put forth his stories in multiple places in His Book by various means, both summarized and extended according to what was appropriate for that place. And there is not among the stories of the Qur’an any one greater than the story of Moosaa, because it deals with Fir’awn and his troops, and it deals with the Banu Israa’eel in the most comprehensive treatment. He is the greatest of the prophets of Banu Israa’eel, and his sharee’ah and His Book – the Tawrah – is what the prophets and the scholars of Banu Israa’eel referred back to. And his followers are the most numerous among the prophets other than the ummah of Muhammad, and he had great strength in establishing the religion of Allah and calling to it, and he had great protective jealousy over it which no one else had.

وقد ولد في وقت قد اشتد فيه فرعون على بني إسرائيل: فكان يذبح كل مولود ذكر يولد من بني إسرائيل، ويستحيي النساء للخدمة والامتهان، فلما ولدته أمه خافت عليه خوفا شديدا؛ فإن فرعون جعل على بني إسرائيل من يرقب نساءهم ومواليدهم، وكان بيتها على ضفة نهر النيل فألهمها الله أن وضعت له تابوتا إذا خافت أحدا ألقته في اليم، وربطته بحبل لئلا تجري به جرية الماء، ومن لطف الله بها أنه أوحى لها أن لا تخافي ولا تحزني، إنا رادوه إليك، وجاعلوه من المرسلين. ـ

Moosaa was born in a time during which Fir’awn had created severe difficulties for the Banu Israa’eel; he used to slaughter every new-born male that was born to the Banu Israa’eel and let the women live for servitude and as a test for them. So when Moosaa’s mother gave birth to him, she felt extremely scared for his sake, for Fir’awn used to keep a close watch over their women and their newborns. The house of the mother of Moosaa was on the bank of the Nile river, so Allah inspired her to place Moosaa in a chest and to throw it into the water and she tied a rope to it lest it float away with the current of the water. And from the kindness of Allah towards her was that He inspired to her: 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 – who made a vow when it became apparent that she was with child that she would dedicate what was in her womb to Bait al-Maqdis – that it would be a servant for the House of Allah and dedicated to the worship of Allah – thinking that that which was in her stomach was a male. So when she delivered a female child, she made an excuse to Allah in defense of her situation,

رَ‌بِّ إِنِّي وَضَعْتُهَا أُنثَىٰ وَاللَّـهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتْ وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ‌ كَالْأُنثَىٰ

“My Lord, I have delivered a female.” And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, and the male is not like the female. [3:36]

meaning, the male is the one which has the ability and power to do what is desired of him in terms of fulfilling the role of a servant for Bait al-Maqdis. Continue reading

The Messiah was only a Messenger and his mother was a ṣiddīqah: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah mentions in surah al-Maa’idah:

مَّا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ وَأُمُّهُ صِدِّيقَةٌ ۖ كَانَا يَأْكُلَانِ الطَّعَامَ ۗ انظُرْ كَيْفَ نُبَيِّنُ لَهُمُ الْآيَاتِ ثُمَّ انظُرْ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ

The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a iddīqah. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded. [5:75]
Imam al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, writes the following commentary on this ayah:
ثم ذكر حقيقة المسيح وأُمِّه، الذي هو الحق، فقال: { مَا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ ْ} أي: هذا غايته ومنتهى أمره، أنه من عباد الله المرسلين، الذين ليس لهم من الأمر ولا من التشريع، إلا ما أرسلهم به الله، وهو من جنس الرسل قبله، لا مزية له عليهم تخرجه عن البشرية إلى مرتبة الربوبية.
Then He mentioned the reality about the Messiah and his mother, which is the truth, so He said, “The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him” – meaning this is the limit and the extent of his condition, that he is one of the slaves of Allah sent as a messenger, for whom belongs neither the power to command or divinely legislate matter except for that which Allah sent them with. He is from the same category of messengers as those before him; there is no special privilege conferred on him which would remove him from humanity unto a level of lordship.
{ وَأُمَّهُ ْ} مريم { صِدِّيقَةٌ ْ} أي: هذا أيضا غايتها، أن كانت من الصديقين الذين هم أعلى الخلق رتبة بعد الأنبياء. والصديقية، هي العلم النافع المثمر لليقين، والعمل الصالح. .
And his mother” Maryam “was a iddīqah” -meaning that this is also the extent of her condition, that she was one of the iddīqūn, those who are the highest rank of creation after the anbiyaa’. And al-iddīqiyyah is beneficial knowledge which produces yaqeen (certainty) and righteous actions. Continue reading

Two disbelieving women and two believing women: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah concludes surah al-Tahreem with the following ayaat where He says:

‏ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا اِمْرَأَةَ نُوحٍ وَامْرَأَةَ لُوطٍ كَانَتَا تَحْتَ عَبْدَيْنِ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا صَالِحَيْنِ فَخَانَتَاهُمَا فَلَمْ يُغْنِيَا عَنْهُمَا مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا وَقِيلَ ادْخُلَا النَّارَ مَعَ الدَّاخِلِينَ * وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اِمْرَأَةَ فِرْعَوْنَ إِذْ قَالَتْ رَبِّ ابْنِ لِي عِنْدَكَ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنْ فِرْعَوْنَ وَعَمَلِهِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ * وَمَرْيَمَ ابْنَتَ عِمْرَانَ الَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهِ مِنْ رُوحِنَا وَصَدَّقَتْ بِكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّهَا وَكُتُبِهِ وَكَانَتْ مِنَ الْقَانِتِينَ

Allah presents an example of those who disbelieved: the wife of Nuh and the wife of Loot. They were under two of Our righteous servants but betrayed them, so those prophets did not avail them from Allah at all, and it was said, “Enter the Fire with those who enter.” And Allah presents an example of those who believed: the wife of Fir’awn, when she said, “My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise and save me from Fir’awn and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people.” And [the example of] Maryam, the daughter of ‘Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her Our Ruh, and she testified to the truth of the Words of her Lord, and His Scriptures, and she was of the devoutly obedient. [66:10-12]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, writes the following commentary:

هذان المثلان اللذان ضربهما الله للمؤمنين والكافرين، ليبين لهم أن اتصال الكافر بالمؤمن وقربه منه لا يفيده شيئًا، وأن اتصال المؤمن بالكافر لا يضره شيئًا مع قيامه بالواجب عليه‏.‏

These are two examples which Allah has struck of the believers and the disbelievers in order to clarify to them that a connection of a kaafir to a mu’min and his closeness to him does not benefit the kaafir at all, and that the connection of a mu’min to a kaafir does not harm the mu’min at all, so long as he establishes his duties to him [i.e. giving him his due rights, not being unjust to him, etc.]

Continue reading