Surah Al-Ahzab Ayat 11-27

{11. There, the believers were tried and shaken with a mighty shaking.

12. And when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease said: “Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusion!”

13. And when a party of them said: “O people of Yathrib! There is no postition for you. Therefore go back!” And a band of them ask for permission of the Prophet saying: “Truly, our homes lie open.” And they lay not open. They but wished to flee.}

How the Believers were tested, and the Position of the Hypocrites during the Battle of Al-Khandaq

Allah tells us what happened when the Confederates surrounded Al-Madinah and the Muslims were besieged and found themselves in straitened circumstances, with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, in their midst. They were tried and tested, and were shaken with a mighty shaking. At this time hypocrisy emerged, and those in whose hearts was a disease spoke about what they really felt. “And when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease said: “Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusion!” Their hypocrisy became apparent, while the one in whose heart was doubt became weak, and he expressed the ideas that were in his heart because of the weakness of his faith and the difficulty of the situation. And other people said, as Allah tells us: “And when a party of them said: “O people of Yathrib…” meaning Al-Madinah, as it was reported in the Sahih:

“I was shown in a dream the place to which you will migrate, a land between two lava fields. At first I thought it was Hajar, but it turned out to be Yathrib.” (Fath Al-Bari 12:439)

According to another narration: “Al-Madinah.” It was said that the origin of its name Yathrib was that a man settled there from “the people of” Al-Amaliq whose name was Yathrib bin Ubayd bin Mahlayil bin Aws bin Amlaq bin Lawudh bin Iram bin Sam bin Nuh. This was the view of As-Suhayli. He said: “And it was narrated from some of them that he said, ‘It is given eleven names in the Tawrah: Al-Madinah, Tabah, Tayyibah, Al-Miskinah, Al-Jabirah, Al-Muhibbah, Al-Mahbubah, Al-Qasimah, Al-Majburah, Al-Adhra’ and Al-Marhumah.” “There is no position for you.” means, here, with the Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, you cannot stand guard, “Therefore go back” means, to your houses and dwellings’. “And a band of them ask for permission of the Prophet” Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him said, “These were Banu Harithah, who said, ‘We fear for our homes, that they may be robbed.”’ (At-Tabari 20:226) This was also stated by others. Ibn Ishaq mentioned that the one who said this was Aws bin Qayzi. (At-Tabari 20:225)

They were using as an excuse to go back to their houses the claim that they were lying open and had nothing to protect them from the enemy, so they were afraid for their homes. But Allah said: “And they lay not open.” meaning, it is not as they claim. “They but wished to flee.” means, they wanted to run away from the battlefield.

{14. And if the enemy had entered from all sides, and they had been exhorted to Al-Fitnah, they would surely have committed it and would have hesitated thereupon but little.

15. And indeed they had already made a covenant with Allah not to turn their backs, and a covenant with Allah must be answered for.

16. Say: “Flight will not avail you if you flee from death or killing and then you will enjoy no more than a little while!”

17. Say: “Who is he who can protect you from Allah if He intends to harm you, or intends mercy on you” And they will not find, besides Allah, for themselves any protector or any helper.}

Allah tells us about those who said: “Truly, our homes lie open.” And they lay not open. They but wished to flee.” If the enemy had entered upon them from every side of Al-Madinah and from every direction, then demanded that they become disbelievers, they would have promptly done so. They would not have adhered to their faith or remained steadfast in it if they were faced with the slightest fear. This is how it was interpreted by Qatadah, Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd and Ibn Jarir. (At-Tabari 20:227) This is a condemnation of them in the clearest terms. Then Allah reminds them of the promise they had made to Him before this fear struck them, that they would not turn their backs or flee from the battlefield. “and a covenant with Allah must be answered for.” means, Allah will inevitably ask them about that covenant. Then Allah tells them that fleeing from battle will not delay their appointed demise or make their lives any longer; on the contrary, it may be the cause of their being taken sooner, and in a sudden manner. Allah says: “and then you will enjoy no more than a little while!” meaning, ‘after you run away and flee from battle.’ “Say: “Short is the enjoyment of this world. The Hereafter is better for him who have Taqwa” (4:77). Then Allah says: “Say: “Who is he who can protect you from Allah if He intends to harm you, or intends mercy on you” And they will not find, besides Allah, for themselves any protector or any helper.” meaning, they have no one else except Allah to respond to their cries.

{18. Allah already knows those among you who keep back (men) from fighting (in Allah’s cause), and those who say to their brethren, “Come here towards us,” while they come not to the battle except a little,

19. Being miserly towards you. Then when fear comes, you will see them looking to you, their eyes revolving like one over whom hovers death; but when the fear departs, they will smite you with sharp tongues, miserly towards good. Such have not believed. Therefore, Allah makes their deeds fruitless and that is ever easy for Allah.}

Allah tells us that His knowledge encompasses those who sought to tell others not to go out and who said to their brethren, meaning their companions, friend and acquaintances. “Come here towards us,” meaning, come to where we are in the shade and enjoying fruits. But in spite of that, “they come not to the battle except a little, being miserly towards you.” i.e., ‘they are mean and have no love or mercy towards you.’ As-Suddi said: “Being miserly towards you.” means, with the booty. “Then when fear comes, you will see them looking to you, their eyes revolving like one over whom hovers death” means, because of the intensity of their fear and terror; this is how afraid these cowards are of fighting. “but when the fear departs, they will smite you with sharp tongues” means, when security is restored, they will speak eloquently and nicely, claiming that they were the bravest and most chivalrous of men, but they are lying. Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “they will smite you” means, “they will start to talk about you.” (At-Tabari 20:232) Qatadah said: “But when it comes to the booty, the most miserly of people and the worst to have to share the booty with are those who say, ‘Give us, give us, we were there with you,’ but during battle they were the most cowardly and the most likely to fail to support the truth.” (At-Tabari 20:232) They are miserly towards good, meaning that there is no goodness in them, for they have combined cowardice with lies and little good. Allah says: “Such have not believed. Therefore Allah makes their deeds fruitless and that is ever easy for Allah.”

{20. They think that the Confederates have not yet withdrawn; and if the Confederates should come, they would wish they were in the deserts among the bedouins, seeking news about you; and if they were to be among you, they would not fight but little.}

This is another aspect of their abhorrent attribute of cowardice and fear: “They think that the Confederates have not yet withdrawn” and that they are still close by and will return. “and if the Confederates should come, they would wish they were in the deserts among the bedouins, seeking news about you” means, ‘if the Confederates should come back, they hope that they will not be present with you in Al-Madinah, but that they will be in the desert, asking about news of you and what happened to you with your enemy.’ “and if they were to be among you, they would not fight but little.” means, ‘if they are among you, they will not fight alongside you very much,’ because they are so cowardly and weak, and have so little faith, but Allah knows best about them.

{21. Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.

22. And when the believers saw the Confederates, they said: “This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us; and Allah and His Messenger had spoken the truth.” And it only added to their faith and to their submissiveness.}

The Command to follow the Messenger

This Ayah is an important principle, to follow the Messenger of Allah in all his words, and deeds, etc. Hence Allah commanded the people to take the Prophet as an example on the day of Al-Ahzab, with regard to patience, guarding, striving and waiting for Allah to provide the way out; may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him forever, until the Day of Judgement. Allah says to those who were anxious and impatient and were shaken by feelings of panic on the day of Al-Ahzab: “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow” meaning, ‘why do you not take him as an example and follow his lead’ Allah says: “for him who hopes in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.”

The Attitude of the Believers towards the Confederates

Then Allah tells us about His believing servants who believed Allah’s promise to them and how He will make the consequences good for them in this world and in the Hereafter. He says: “And when the believers saw the Confederates, they said: “This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us; and Allah and His Messenger had spoken the truth.” Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, and Qatadah said: “They mean what Allah said in Surat Al-Baqarah: “Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said,”When (will come) the help of Allah” Yes! Certainly, the help of Allah is near!” (2:214) (At-Tabari 20:236) meaning, ‘this is the trial and test that Allah and His Messenger promised us would be followed by the help and victory of Allah that is near.’ Allah says: “and Allah and His Messenger had spoken the truth.” “And it only added to their faith and to their submissiveness.” This indicates that faith can increase and strengthen in accordance with people’s circumstances, as the majority of scholars stated: faith can increase and decrease. We have stated this at the beginning of our commentary on Al-Bukhari, praise be to Allah. “And it only added” means, at that time of stress and difficulty “to their faith” in Allah, “and to their submissiveness.” means their submission to His commands and their obedience to His Messenger .

{23. Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah; of them some have fulfilled their Nahbah; and some of them are still waiting, but they have never changed in the least.

24.That Allah may reward the men of truth for their truth, and punish the hypocrites, if He wills, or accept their repentance by turning to them. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

Praise for the Believers’ Attitude, and leaving the ultimate Fate of the Hypocrites to Allah

When Allah mentions how the hypocrites broke their promise to Him that they would not turn their backs, He describes the believers as firmly adhering to their covenant and their promise: “[they] have been true to their covenant with Allah; of them some have fulfilled their Nahbah” Some of them said: “Met their appointed time (i.e., death).” Al-Bukhari said, “Their covenant, and refers back to the beginning of the Ayah.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:377)  “and some of them are still waiting, but they have never changed in the least.” means, they have never changed or broken their covenant with Allah.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Zayd bin Thabit said: “When we wrote down the Mushaf, an Ayah from Surat Al-Ahzab was missing, which I used to hear the Messenger of Allah reciting. I did not find it with anyone except Khuzaymah bin Thabit Al-Ansari, may Allah be pleased with him, whose testimony the Messenger of Allah counted as equal to that of two other men. (The Ayah in question was) “Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah” (Fath Al-Bari 8:377) This was recorded by Al-Bukhari but not by Muslim, It was also recorded by Ahmad in his Musnad, and by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i in the chapters on Tafsir in their Sunans. At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih”. (Ahmad 5:188)

Al-Bukhari also recorded that Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “We think that this Ayah was revealed concerning Anas bin An-Nadr, may Allah be pleased with him: “Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:377)  This was reported only by Al-Bukhari, but there are corroborating reports with other chains of narration. Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said: “My paternal uncle Anas bin Al-Nadr, may Allah be pleased with him, after whom I was named, was not present with this Messenger of Allah at Badr, and this distressed him. He said: ‘The first battle at which the Messenger of Allah was present, and I was absent; if Allah shows me another battle with the Messenger of Allah, Allah will see what I will do!’ He did not want to say more than that. He was present with the Messenger of Allah at Uhud, where he met Sad bin Muadh, may Allah be pleased with him. Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said to him, ‘O Abu Amr! Where are you going’ He replied, ‘I long for the fragrance of Paradise and I have found it near the mountain of Uhud.’ He fought them until he was killed, may Allah be pleased with him. Eighty-odd stab wounds and spear wounds were found on his body, and his sister, my paternal aunt Ar-Rabayyi bint Al-Nadr said, ‘I only recognized my brother by his fingertips.’ Then this Ayah was revealed: “Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah; of them some have fulfilled their Nahbah; and some of them are still waiting, but they have never changed in the least.” They used to think that it had been revealed concerning him and his companions, may Allah be pleased with them.” (Ahmad 3:194) This was also recorded by Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i. (Muslim 3:1512)

Ibn Jarir narrated that Musa bin Talhah said: “Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan, may Allah be pleased with him, stood up and said, ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah say:

“Talhah is one of those who have fulfilled their Nahbah.” (At-Tirmidhi no. 3432)

Mujahid said concerning the Ayah: “of them some have fulfilled their Nahbah” “Their covenant, “and some of them are still waiting” they are waiting for battle so that they can do well. ” (At-Tabari 20:238)  Al-Hasan said: “of them some have fulfilled their Nahbah” “They died true to their covenant and loyal, and some are still waiting to die in a similar manner, and some of them have never changed in the least.” (At-Tabari 20:239) This was also the view of Qatadah and Ibn Zayd. Some of them said that the word Nahbah means a vow. “but they have never changed in the least.” means, they never changed their covenant or were disloyal or committed treachery, but they persisted in what they had promised and did not break their vow, unlike the hypocrites who said: “Truly, our homes lie open.” And they lay not open. They but wished to flee.” (33:13) “And indeed they had already made a covenant with Allah not to turn their backs” (33:15) “That Allah may reward the men of truth for their truth, and punish the hypocrites, if He wills, or accept their repentance by turning to them.” Allah tests His servants with fear and shaking so as to tell the evil from the good, as each will be known by his deeds. Although Allah knows what the outcome will be before anything happens, still He does not punish anyone on the basis of His knowledge until they actually do what He knows they will do. As Allah says: “And surely, We shall try you till We test those who strive hard and patient, and We shall test your facts.” (47:31). This refers to knowing something after it happens, even though Allah knows it before it comes to pass. Allah says: “Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good. Nor will Allah disclose to you the secrets of the Unseen” (3:179). Allah says here: “That Allah may reward the men of truth for their truth,” meaning, for their patience in adhering to the covenant they had made with Allah and keeping their promise. “and punish the hypocrites,” who are the ones who broke the covenant and went against the commands of Allah, for which they deserve to be punished, but they are subject to His will in this world. If He wills, He will leave them as they are until they meet Him [in the Hereafter], when He will punish them, or if He wills, He will guide them to give up their hypocrisy and to believe and do righteous deeds after they had been wrongdoers and sinners. Since His mercy and kindness towards His creation prevail over His wrath, He says: “Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

{25. And Allah drove back those who disbelieved in their rage: they gained no advantage. Allah sufficed for the believers in the fighting. And Allah is Ever All-Strong, All-Mighty.}

Allah drove back the Confederates disappointed and lost

Allah tells us how he drove the Confederates away from Al-Madinah by sending against them a wind and troops of angels. If Allah had not made his Messenger a Mercy to the Worlds, this wind would have been more severe than the barren wind which He sent against Ad, but Allah says: “And Allah would not punish them while you are amongst them” (8:33). So, Allah sent them a wind which dispersed them after they had gathered on the basis of their whims. They were a mixture of tribes and parties with a variety of opinions, so it was befitting that a wind should be sent against them that would scatter them and break up their gathering, driving them back disappointed and lost in their hatred and enmity. They did not achieve any worldly good such as the victory and booty that they had hoped for, nor did they achieve any good in the Hereafter, because of their sin of declaring enmity against the Messenger and seeking to kill him and destroy his army. Whoever wants and seriously intends to do a thing is the same as one who actually does it. “Allah sufficed for the believers in the fighting.” means, they did not have to fight them in order to expel them from their land, but Allah Alone sufficed them and helped His servant and granted victory to His troops. Hence the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, used to say,

“None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, Alone, He was true to His promise, and He helped His servant, and He gave might to His soldiers and defeated the Confederates alone and there is nothing after Him.”

This was reported from a Hadith of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him. (Fath Al-Bari 7:469) In the Two Sahihs it was recorded that Abdullah bin Abi Awfa, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah invoked Allah against the Confederates and said:

“O Allah, Who revealed the Book and is swift in bringing to account, defeat the Confederates, O Allah defeat them and shake them.”  (Fath Al-Bari 7:469)

“Allah sufficed for the believers in the fighting.” This Ayah indicates that there would be a cessation of war between them and Quraysh; after this, the idolators did not attack the Muslims, on the contrary, the Muslims attacked them in their own land. Imam Ahmad recorded that Sulayman bin Surad, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “On the day of Al-Ahzab, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Now we will attack them and they will not attack us.” (Ahmad 4:162)

This was also recorded by Al-Bukhari in his Sahih. (Fath Al-Bari 7:467)

“And Allah is Ever All-Strong, All-Mighty.” means, by His power and might He drove them back disappointed and lost, and they did not achieve anything, and Allah granted victory to Islam and its followers, and fulfilled His promise and helped His servant and Messenger; to Him be blessings and praise.

{26. And those of the People of the Scripture who backed them, Allah brought them down from their forts and cast terror into their hearts; a group you killed, and a group you made captives.

27. And He caused you to inherit their lands, and their houses, and their riches, and a land which you had not trodden. And Allah is able to do all things.}

The Campaign against Banu Qurayzah

We have already noted that when the Confederates came and camped outside Al-Madinah, Banu Qurayzah broke the covenant that existed between them and the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. This happened by the agency of Huyay bin Akhtab An-Nadari, may Allah curse him, who entered their stronghold and would not leave their leader, Kab bin Asad, alone until he agreed to break the covenant. Among the things that he said to him was, “Woe to you! This is the opportunity for glory. The Quraysh and their company of men from various tribes, and the Ghatafan and their followers, have come to you, and they will stay here until they eliminate Muhammad and his companions.” Kab said to him, “No, by Allah, this is the opportunity for humiliation. Woe to you, O Huyay, you are a bad omen. Leave us alone.” But Huyay kept trying to persuade him until he agreed to his request. He laid down the condition that if the Confederates went away without doing anything, he [Huyay] would join them in their stronghold and would share their fate. When Banu Qurayzah broke their covenant and news of this reached the Messenger of Allah, he and the Muslims were very distressed by that. When Allah helped him by suppressing his enemy and driving them back disappointed and lost, having gained nothing, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, returned to Al-Madinah in triumph and the people put down their weapons.

While the Messenger of Allah was washing off the dust of battle in the house of Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, Jibril, upon him be peace, came to him wearing a turban of brocade, riding on a mule on which was a cloth of silk brocade. He said, “Have you put down your weapons, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “But the angels have not put down their weapons. I have just now come back from pursuing the people.” Then he said: “Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, commands you to get up and go to Banu Qurayzah.” According to another report, “What a fighter you are! Have you put down your weapons?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “But we have not put down our weapons yet, get up and go to these people.” He said: “Where?” He said, “Banu Qurayzah, for Allah has commanded me to shake them.” So the Messenger of Allah got up immediately, and commanded the people to march towards Banu Qurayzah, who were a few miles from Al-Madinah. (See Bukhari no.4117) This was after Salat Ad-Dhuhr. He said,

“No one among you should pray Asr except at Banu Qurayzah.” (Bukhari 4119)

So, the people set out, and the time for the prayer came while they were still on the road. Some of them prayed on the road, saying, “The Messenger of Allah only wanted to make us march quickly.” Others said, “We will not pray it until we reach Banu Qurayzah.” Neither of the two groups were rebuked for what they did. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, followed them. He left Ibn Umm Maktum, may Allah be pleased with him, in charge of Al-Madinah, and he had given the flag to Ali bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him. Then the Messenger of Allah went to them (Banu Qurayzah) laying seige to them for twenty-five days.

When this had gone on for too long, they agreed to accept the judgement of Sad bin Muadh, the leader of Aws because they had been their allies during the Jahiliyyah, so they thought that he would treat them kindly as Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul had done for his allies of Banu Qaynuqa when he had asked the Messenger of Allah to set them free. So, these people thought that Sad would do the same for them as Ibn Ubayy had done for those people. They did not know that Sad had been struck by an arrow in his medial arm vein during the campaign of Al-Khandaq. The Messenger of Allah had had his vein cauterized and had brought him to stay in a tent in the Masjid so that he could keep a close eye on him. One of the things that Sad, may Allah be pleased with him, said in his supplication was, “O Allah, if there is still anything that has to do with the war against Quraysh, then keep me alive for it, and if You decree that the war between us and them is over, then let the bleeding be renewed, but do not let me die until I get my satisfaction with regard to Banu Qurayzah.” Allah answered his prayer and decreed that they would agree to be referred to him for judgement, and this was their own free choice. When this happened, the Messenger of Allah called him to come from Al-Madinah to pass judgement on them. When he arrived, riding on a donkey that had been specially equipped for him to ride, some of the Aws began to urge him not to be too harsh, saying, “O Sad, they are your clients so be kind to them, trying to soften his heart.” But he kept quiet and did not answer them. When they persisted in their request, he said, “Now it is time for Sad to make sure that no rebuke or censure will divert him from the path of Allah.” Then they knew that he would not let them live.

When he reached the tent where the Messenger of Allah was, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Stand up for your leader.”

So the Muslims stood up for him, and welcomed him with honor and respect as befitted his status and so that his judgement would have more impact. When he sat down, the Messenger of Allah said:

“These people” and he pointed to them “have agreed to accept your judgement, so pass judgement on them as you wish.”

Sad, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “My judgement will be carried out.” The Messenger of Allah said: “Yes.” He said, “And it will be carried out on those who are in this tent” He said, “Yes.” He said, “And on those who are on this side” — and he pointed towards the side where the Messenger of Allah was, but he did not look directly at the Messenger of Allah out of respect for him. The Messenger of Allah said to him: “Yes.”

So Sad, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “My judgement is that their fighters should be killed and their children and wealth should be seized.” The Messenger of Allah said:

“You have judged according to the ruling of Allah from above the seven heavens.”

According to another report: “You have judged according to the ruling of the Sovereign.” (Similar was recorded in Bukhari 4122)

Then the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, commanded that ditches should be dug, so they were dug in the earth, and they were brought tied by their shoulders, and were beheaded. There were between seven hundred and eight hundred of them. The children who had not yet reached adolescence and the women were taken prisoner, and their wealth was seized. (At-Tabari 20:247)

All of this is stated both briefly and in detail, with evidence and Hadiths, in the book of Sirah which we have written, praise and blessings be to Allah. Allah said: “And those who backed them, Allah brought them down” means, those who helped and supported them in their war against the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him. “of the People of the Scripture” means, Banu Qurayzah, who were Jews from one of the tribes of Israel. Their forefathers had settled in the Hijaz long ago, seeking to follow the Unlettered Prophet of whom they read in the Tawrah and Injil. “then when there came to them that which they had recognized, they disbelieved in it” (2:89). May the curse of Allah be upon them. “from their forts” means, from their strongholds. This was the view of Mujahid, Ikrimah, Ata’, Qatadah, As-Suddi and others of the Salaf. (At-Tabari 20:249) “and cast terror into their hearts” means fear, because they had supported the idolators in their war against the Messenger of Allah and the one who knows is not like the one who does not know. They had terrified the Muslims and intended to kill them so as to gain earthly power, but their plans backfired; the idolators ran away and the believers were victorious while the disbelievers were losers; where they had aimed for glory, they were humiliated. They wanted to eradicate the Muslims but they were themselves eradicated. In addition to all this, they are doomed in the Hereafter, so by all acounts they are counted as losers. Allah says: “a group you killed, and a group you made captives.” Those who were killed were their warriors, and the prisoners were their children and women.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Atiyah Al-Qurazi said, “I was shown to the Prophet on the day of Qurayzah, because they were not sure about me. The Prophet told them to look at me to see whether I had grown any body hair yet. They looked and saw that I had not grown any body hair, so they let me go and I was put with the other prisoners.” (Ahmad 4:383) This was also recorded by the Sunan compilers, and At-Tirmidhi said it is Hasan Sahih.” (Abu Dawud 4:561) An-Nasa’i also recorded something similar from Atiyah. (An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 5:185) “And He caused you to inherit their lands, and their houses, and their riches” means, ‘He gave these things to you after you killed them.’ “and a land which you had not trodden.” It was said that this was Khaybar, or that it was the lands of the Persians and Romans. Ibn Jarir said, “It could be that all of these are referred to “And Allah is able to do all things.” (At-Tabari 20:250)

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 651-673 

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Surah Al-Ahzab Ayat 1-10

Surah Al-Ahzab

(The Confederates)

Chapter 33

Which was revealed in Al-Madinah

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

 

{1. O Prophet! Have Taqwa of Allah, and obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Verily, Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise.

2. And follow that which is revealed to you from your Lord. Verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.

3. And put your trust in Allah, and sufficient is Allah as a Trustee.}

The Command to defy the Disbelievers and Hypocrites by following the Revelation of Allah and putting One’s Trust in Him

Here Allah points out something lower by referring to something higher. When He commands His servant and Messenger to do this, He is also commanding those who are lower than him, and the command is addressed to them more so. Talq bin Habib said: “Taqwa means obeying Allah in the light of the guidance of Allah and in hope of earning the reward of Allah, and refraining from disobeying Allah in the light of the guidance of Allah and fearing the punishment of Allah.” “and obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites.” means, do not listen to what they say and do not consult them. “Verily, Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise” means, He is more deserving of your following His commandments and obeying Him, for He knows the consequences of all things and is Wise in all that He says and does. Allah says: “And follow that which is revealed to you from your Lord.” meaning, of the Qur’an and Sunnah. “Verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.” means, nothing at all is hidden from Him, and put your trust in Allah, i.e., in all your affairs and situations. “and sufficient is Allah as a Wakil.” means, sufficient is He as a Trustee for the one who puts his trust in Him and turns to Him.

{4. Allah has not made for any man two hearts inside his body. Neither has He made your wives whom you declare to be like your mothers’ backs, your real mothers nor has He made your adopted sons your real sons. That is but your saying with your mouths. But Allah says the truth, and He guides to the way.

5. Call them by their fathers, that is more just with Allah. But if you know not their father’s, your brothers in faith and Mawalikum (your freed servants). And there is no sin on you concerning that in which you made a mistake, except in regard to what your hearts deliberately intend. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

Abolition of Adoption

Before Allah discusses ideas and theoretical matters, He gives tangible examples: one man cannot have two hearts in his body, and a man’s wife does not become his mother if he says the words of Zihar to her: “You are to me like the back of my mother.” By the same token, an adopted child does not become the son of the man who adopts him and calls him his son. Allah says: “Allah has not made for any man two hearts inside his body. Neither has He made your wives whom you declare to be like your mothers’ backs, your real mothers…” This is like the Ayah: “They cannot be their mothers. None can be their mothers except those who gave them birth” (58:2). “nor has He made your adopted sons your real sons.” This was revealed concerning Zayd bin Harithah, may Allah be pleased with him, the freed servant of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, had adopted him before prophethood, and he was known as Zayd bin Muhammad. Allah wanted to put an end to this naming and attribution, as He said: “nor has He made your adopted sons your real sons.” This is similar to the Ayah later in this Surah: “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the last (end) of the Prophets. And Allah is Ever All-Aware of everything.” (33:40). And Allah says here: “That is but your saying with your mouths.” meaning, ‘your adoption of him is just words, and it does not mean that he is really your son,’ for he was created from the loins of another man, and a child cannot have two fathers just as a man cannot have two hearts in one body. “But Allah says the truth, and He guides to the way.” Sa`id bin Jubayr said: (But Allah says the truth,) means, justice. Qatadah said: (and He guides to the way) means, the straight path. Imam Ahmad said that Hasan told them that Zuhayr told them from Qabus, meaning Ibn Abi Zibyan, that his father told him: “I said to Ibn Abbas, ‘Do you know the Ayah, “Allah has not made for any man two hearts inside his body.” What does this mean’ He said that the Messenger of Allah stood up one day to pray, and he trembled. The hypocrites who were praying with him said, ‘Do you not see that he has two hearts, one heart with you and another with them’ Then Allah revealed the words: “Allah has not made for any man two hearts inside his body.” (Ahmad 1:267) This was also narrated by At-Tirmidhi, who said, “It is a Hasan Hadith”. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:58) It was also narrated by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim from the Hadith of Zuhayr. (Ahmad no.2410)

An Adopted Child should be named after His Real Father 

“Call them (adopted sons) by their fathers, that is more just with Allah.” This is a command which abrogates the state of affairs that existed at the beginning of Islam, when it was permitted to call adopted sons after the man who adopted them. Then Allah commanded that they should be given back the names of their real fathers, and states that this was more fair and just. Al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) narrated that Abdullah bin Umar said: “Zayd bin Harithah, may Allah be pleased with him, the freed servant of the Messenger of Allah , was always called Zayd bin Muhammad, until (the words of the) Qur’an were revealed: “Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just with Allah.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:377) This was also narrated by Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i. (Muslim 4:1884) They used to deal with them as sons in every respect, including being alone with them as Mahrams and so on. Hence Sahlah bint Suhayl, the wife of Abu Hudhayfah, may Allah be pleased with them both, said: “O Messenger of Allah! We used to call Salim our son, but Allah has revealed what He has revealed. He used to enter upon me, but I feel that Abu Hudhayfah does not like that. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Breastfeed him and he will become your Mahram.” (Muslim 2:1076)

Hence when this ruling was abrogated, Allah made it permissible for a man to marry the ex-wife of his adopted son, and the Messenger of Allah married Zaynab bint Jahsh, the divorced wife of Zayd bin Harithah, may Allah be pleased with him, Allah said:

“So that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in respect of the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have no desire to keep them” (33:37).

And Allah says in Ayat At-Tahrim: “The wives of your sons from your own loins” (4:23). The wife of an adopted son is not included because he was not born from the man’s loins. A “foster” son through breastfeeding is the same as a son born from one’s own loins, from the point of view of Shariah, because the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said in the Two Sahihs:

“Suckling makes unlawful as lineage does.” (Al-Fath 8:392)

As for calling a person “son” as an expression of honor and endearment, this is not what is forbidden in this Ayah, as is indicated by the report recorded by Imam Ahmad and the Sunan compilers – apart from At-Tirmidhi – from Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: “We young boys of Banu Abd Al-Muttalib came to the Messenger of Allah at the Jamarat; he slapped us on the thigh and said,

“O my sons, do not stone the Jamarah until the sun has risen.” (Ahmad 1:234)

This was during the Farewell Pilgrimage in 10 AH.

“Call them by their fathers.” This is concerning Zayd bin Harithah, may Allah be pleased with him. He was killed in 8 AH at the battle of Mu’tah. In Sahih Muslim it is reported that Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah said:

“O my son.” (Muslim 3:1693)

It was also reported by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi. (Abu Dawud 5:247) “But if you know not their father’s then they are your brothers in the religion and Mawalikum (your freed servants).” Here Allah commands that adopted sons should be given back their fathers’ names, if they are known; if they are not known, then they should be called brothers in faith or freed servants, to compensate for not knowing what their real lineage is.

When the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, left Makkah after performing his Umrat Al-Qada’, [performed in the year following Hudaybiyah] the daughter of Hamzah, may Allah be pleased with her, started following him, calling, “O uncle, O uncle!” Ali took her and said to Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with her, “Take care of your uncle’s daughter,” so she picked her up. Ali, Zayd and Jafar – may Allah be pleased with them – disputed over of which of them was going to take care of her, and each of them gave his reasons. Ali said, “I have more right, because she is the daughter of my paternal uncle.” Zayd said, “She is the daughter of my brother.” Jafar bin Abi Talib said: “She is the daughter of my paternal uncle and I am married to her maternal aunt — meaning Asma bint Umays.” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, ruled that she should stay with her maternal aunt, and said:

“The maternal aunt has the same status as the mother.”

He said to Ali, may Allah be pleased with him,

“You belong to me and I belong to you.”

He said to Jafar, may Allah be pleased with him,

“You resemble me both in your looks and in your attitude.”

And he said to Zayd, may Allah be pleased with him,

“You are our brother and our freed servant.”

This Hadith contains a number of rulings, the most important of which is that the Prophet ruled according to the truth, and that he sought to appease all the disputing parties. His saying to Zayd, may Allah be pleased with him,

“You are our brother and our freed servant.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:750)

is as Allah says in this Ayah: “your brothers in faith and your freed servants.” Then Allah says: “And there is no sin on you concerning that in which you made a mistake,” meaning, if you call one of them after someone who is not in fact his father, by mistake, after trying your best to find out his parentage, then Allah will not attach any sin to this mistake. This is like the Ayah in which Allah commands His servants to say: “Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error” (2:286). It was reported in Sahih Muslim that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of islam be upon him said:

“Allah says, “Certainly I did (so).” (Muslim 1:116)

In Sahih Al-Bukhari, it was recorded that Amr bin Al-As, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah said:

“If the judge makes Ijtihad and reaches the right decision, he will have two rewards; if he makes Ijtihad and reaches the wrong decision, he will have one reward.” (Fath Al-Bari 13:330)

In another Hadith:

“Allah will forgive my Ummah for mistakes, forgetfulness and what they are forced to do.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 1:659)

And Allah says here: “And there is no sin on you concerning that in which you made a mistake, except in regard to what your hearts deliberately intend. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” meaning, the sin is on the person who deliberately does something wrong, as Allah says elsewhere: “Allah will not call you to account for that which is unintentional in your oaths” (2:225). Imam Ahmad narrated from Ibn Abbas that Umar said: “Allah sent Muhammad with the Truth and revealed to him the Book. One of the things that was revealed in it was the Ayah of stoning, so the Messenger of Allah stoned [adulterers] and we stoned [them] after he died.” Then he said, “We also used to recite, ‘Do not attribute yourselves to anyone other than your fathers, for this is disbelief, to attribute yourselves to anyone other than your fathers.”’ The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Do not exaggerate in praising me as Isa bin Maryam was praised upon him be peace and blessings. I am just a servant of Allah. Say, “He is His servant and Messenger.”

Or Mamar may have said:

“As the Christians praised the son of Maryam.” (Ahmad 1:47)

This was also narrated in another Hadith:

“Three things that people do are parts of disbelief: slandering a person’s lineage, wailing over the dead and seeking rain by the stars.” (Muslim No. 934)

{6. The Prophet is closer to the believers than themselves, and his wives are their mothers. And blood relations among each other have closer personal ties in the decree of Allah than the believers and the Muhajirin, except that you do kindness to those brothers. This has been written in the Book.}

 

Loyalty to the Prophet; and his wives are Mothers of the Believers

Allah tells us how His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is merciful and sincere towards his Ummah, and how he is closer to them than they are to themselves. His judgement or ruling takes precedence over their own choices for themselves, as Allah says: “But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept with full submission.” (4:65) In the Sahih it says:

“By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, none of you truly believes until I am dearer to him than his own self, his wealth, his children and all the people.” (Fath Al-Bari 1:75)

It was also reported in the Sahih that Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “O Messenger of Allah, by Allah, you are dearer to me than everything except myself.” He said,

“No, O Umar, not until I am dearer to you than yourself.”

Umar said: “O Messenger of Allah, by Allah, now you are dearer to me than everything, even myself.” He said,

“Now, O Umar [you have got it right].” (Fath Al-Bari 11:532)

Allah says in this Ayah: “The Prophet is closer to the believers than themselves,” Concerning this Ayah, Al-Bukhari narrated from Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“There is no believer except I am the closest of all people to him in this world and in the Hereafter. Recite, if you wish: “The Prophet is closer to the believers than themselves.” If any believer leaves behind any wealth, let his own relatives inherit it, but if he leaves behind any debt or orphans, bring them to me and I will take care of them.”

This was recorded only by Al-Bukhari, and he also recorded it in the Book of Loans. (Fath Al-Bari 8:376)

“and his wives are their mothers.” means, they are unlawful for marriage. In terms of honor, respect and veneration, it is not permissible for them to be alone with them, and the prohibition of marriage to them does not extend to their daughters and sisters, according to scholarly consensus. “And blood relations among each other have closer personal ties in the decree of Allah than the believers and the Muhajirin,” This is an abrogation of the rule that existed previously, whereby they could inherit from one another by virtue of the oath of brotherhood among them. Ibn Abbas and others said: “A Muhajir would inherit from an Ansari even though they were not related by blood, because of the brotherhood established between them by the Messenger of Allah.” (Al-Bukhari no 2292, 4580, 6747)

This was also stated by Said bin Jubayr and others among scholars of the earlier and later generations. “except that you do kindness to those brothers.” means, the idea of inheriting from one another has gone, but there remains the duty to offer support and kindness, to uphold ties of brotherhood and to offer good advice. “This has been written in the Book.” This ruling, which is that those who are blood relatives have closer personal ties to one another, is a ruling which Allah has decreed and which is written in the First Book which cannot be altered or changed. This is the view of Mujahid and others. (This is the case) even though Allah legislated something different at certain times, and there is wisdom behind this, for He knew that this would be abrogated and the original ruling that was instituted an eternity ago would prevail, and this is His universal and legislative decree. And Allah knows best.

{7. And when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you, and from Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, and Isa son of Maryam. We took from them a strong covenant.

8. That He may ask the truthful about their truth. And He has prepared for the disbelievers a painful torment.}

The Covenant of the Prophets

Allah tells us about the five Mighty Messengers with strong resolve and the other Prophets, how He took a covenant from them to establish the religion of Allah and convey His Message, and to cooperate and support one another, as Allah says: “And when Allah took the covenant of the Prophets, saying: “Take whatever I gave you from the Book and Hikmah, and afterwards there will come to you a Messenger confirming what is with you; you must, then, believe in him and help him.” Allah said: “Do you agree, and will you take up My covenant” They said: “We agree.” He said: “Then bear witness; and I am with you among the witnesses.” (3:81) This covenant was taken from them after their missions started. Elsewhere in the Qur’an, Allah mentions five by name, and these are the Mighty Messengers with strong resolve. They are also mentioned by name in this Ayah and in the Ayah: “He (Allah) has ordained for you the same religion which He ordained for Nuh, and that which We have revealed to you, and that which We ordained for Ibrahim, Musa and Isa saying you should establish religion and make no divisions in it.” (42:13) This is the covenant which Allah took from them, as He says: “And when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you, and from Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, and Isa son of Maryam.” This Ayah begins with the last Prophet, as a token of respect, may the blessings of Allah be upon him, then the names of the other Prophets are given in order, may the blessings of Allah be upon them.

Ibn Abbas said: “The strong covenant is Al-Ahd (the covenant). (At-Tabari 20:213) “That He may ask the truthful about their truth.” Mujahid said: “This refers to, those who convey the Message from the Messengers.” (At-Tabari 20:214)  “And He has prepared for the disbelievers” i.e., among their nations, “a painful torment.” i.e., agonizing. We bear witness that the Messengers did indeed convey the Message of their Lord and advised their nations, and that they clearly showed them the truth in which there is no confusion, doubt or ambiguity, even though they were rejected by the ignorant, stubborn and rebellious wrongdoers. What the Messengers brought is the truth, and whoever opposes them is misguided. As the people of Paradise will say: “Indeed, the Messengers of our Lord did come with the truth.” (7:43)

{9. O you who believe! Remember Allah’s favor to you, when there came against you hosts, and We sent against them a wind and forces that you saw not. And Allah is Ever All-Seer of what you do.

10. When they came upon you from above you and from below you, and when the eyes grew wild and the hearts reached to the throats, and you were harboring doubts about Allah.}

The Campaign of the Confederates (Al-Ahzab)

Allah tells us of the blessings and favors He bestowed upon His believing servants when He diverted their enemies and defeated them in the year when they gathered together and plotted. That was the year of Al-Khandaq, in Shawwal of the year 5 AH according to the well-known correct view. Musa bin Uqbah and others said that it was in the year 4 AH. The reason why the Confederates came was that a group of the leaders of the Jews of Banu Nadir, whom the Messenger of Allah had expelled from Al-Madinah to Khaybar, including Sallam bin Abu Al-Huqayq, Sallam bin Mishkam and Kinanah bin Ar-Rabi, went to Makkah where they met with the leaders of Quraysh and incited them to make war against the Prophet . They promised that they would give them help and support, and Quraysh agreed to that. Then they went to the Ghatafan tribe with the same call, and they responded too. The Quraysh came out with their company of men from various tribes and their followers, under the leadership of Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb. The Ghatafan were led by Uyaynah bin Hisn bin Badr. In all they numbered nearly ten thousand. When the Messenger of Allah heard that they had set out, he commanded the Muslims to dig a ditch (Khandaq) around Al-Madinah from the east. This was on the advice of Salman Al-Farisi, may Allah be pleased with him. So the Muslims did this, working hard, and the Messenger of Allah worked with them, carrying earth away and digging, in the process of which there occurred many miracles and clear signs. The idolators came and made camp to the north of Al-Madinah, near Uhud, and some of them camped on the high ground overlooking Al-Madinah, as Allah says: “When they came upon you from above you and from below you,” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, came out with the believers, who numbered nearly three thousand, or it was said that they numbered seven hundred. They had their backs towards (the mountain of) Sal and were facing the enemy, and the ditch, in which there was no water, was between the two groups, preventing the cavalry and infantry from reaching them. The women and children were in the strongholds of Al-Madinah. Banu Qurayzah, who were a group among the Jews, had a fortress in the south-east of Al-Madinah, and they had made a treaty with the Prophet and were under his protection. They numbered nearly eight hundred fighters. Huyay bin Akhtab An-Nadari went to them and kept trying to persuade them until they broke the treaty and went over to the side of the Confederates against the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The crisis deepened and things got worse, as Allah says: “There, the believers were tried and shaken with a mighty shaking.” (33: 11) They besieged the Prophet and his Companions for almost a month, but they did not reach them and there was no fighting between them, except for when Amr bin Abd Wadd Al-Amiri, who was one of the most famous and bravest horsemen of the Jahiliyyah, came with some other horsemen, and crossed the ditch to the Muslim side. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, called for the Muslim cavalry, and it was said that no one came forward. Then he called Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, who came forward and they fought in single combat until Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, killed him, and this was a sign of imminent victory. Then Allah sent an intensely cold wind with strong gusts against the Confederates, and they were left with no tents or anything else; they could not light any fires or do anything, and so they departed, disappointed and defeated, as Allah says: “O you who believe! Remember Allah’s favor to you, when there came against you hosts, and We sent against them a wind and forces” Mujahid said: “This was the easterly wind.” This view is supported by another Hadith:

“I was given victory by the easterly wind, and `Ad were destroyed by the westerly wind.” (Fath Al-Bari 2:604)

“and forces that you saw not.” This refers to the angels who shook them and cast fear and terror into their hearts. The chief of each tribe said, “O Banu so-and-so, to me!” So they gathered around him, and he said, “Let us save ourselves,” when Allah cast fear and terror into their hearts.

In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that Ibrahim At-Taymi said that his father said: “We were with Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman, may Allah be pleased with him, and a man said to him: ‘If I had met the Messenger of Allah I would have fought alongside him and I would have striven my utmost.’ Hudhayfah said to him: ‘Would you really have done that? I was present with the Messenger of Allah during (the campaign) against the Confederates on a very cold and windy night, and the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Is there any man who will bring me news of the people? He will be with me on the Day of Resurrection.”

None of us answered him, and he repeated it a second and a third time. Then he said:

“O Hudhayfah, get up and bring us news of the people.”

When he called me by name, I had no choice but to get up. He said,

“Bring us news of the people, but do not alarm them.”

So I went, walking as if I were walking among pigeons, until I came to them. I saw Abu Sufyan warming his back by the fire, and I put an arrow in my bow, wanting to shoot it at him, then I remembered what the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Do not alarm them.”

If I shot the arrow, I would have hit him. So I came back, again walking as if I were walking among pigeons, and I came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. After my returning I began to feel very cold. I told the Messenger of Allah and he gave me to wear a spare cloak of his which he used to pray in. I slept until morning came, and when morning came, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Get up, O sleepy one!” (Muslim 3:1414)

“When they came upon you from above you?” refers to the Confederates, “and from below you.” We have already noted the report from Abu Hudhayfah that these were Banu Qurayzah. “and when the eyes grew wild and the hearts reached to the throats,” means, from intense fear and terror. “and you were harboring doubts about Allah.” Ibn Jarir said: “Some of those who were with the Messenger of Allah , had doubts and thought that the outcome would be against the believers, and that Allah would allow that to happen.” Muhammad bin Ishaq said concerning the Ayah:  “when the eyes grew wild and the hearts reached to the throats, and you were harboring doubts about Allah.” “The believers had all kinds of doubts, and hypocrisy emerged to such an extent that Muattib bin Qushayr, the brother of Banu Amr bin Awf said: Muhammad was promising us that we would win the treasure of Chosroes and Caesar, but one of us cannot even go and relieve himself.” (Ibn Hisham 1:522)

Al-Hasan said concerning the Ayah: “and you were harboring doubts about Allah.” “There were different kinds of thoughts; the hypocrites thought that Muhammad and his Companions would be eliminated, while the believers were certain that what Allah and His Messenger promised was true, and that He would cause the religion to prevail even if the idolators hated it.” (At-Tabari 20:221) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Said, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “On the day of Al-Khandaq, we said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, is there anything we should say, for our hearts have reached our throats’ He said: “Yes, say: O Allah, cover our weak points and calm our fears.” Then [Allah] struck the faces of the enemy with the wind, and defeated them with the wind. This was also recorded by Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal from Abu Amir Al-Aqadi.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 631-651

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Surah As-Sajdah Ayat 1-30 (end)

Surah As-Sajdah

Chapter 32

Which was Revealed in Makkah

The Virtues of Surah Alif Lam Mim As-Sajdah

In the Book of the Friday prayer, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “The Prophet used to recite in Fajr on Fridays: “Alif Lam Mim. The revelation of…”, As-Sajdah, and “Has there not been over man…” Al-Insan (76).” (Fath Al-Bari 2:438) This was also recorded by Muslim. (Muslim 2:599)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir said, “The Prophet would never sleep until he recited: “Alif Lam Mim. The revelation of…”, As-Sajdah, and “Blessed be He in Whose Hand is the dominion” Al-Mulk (67).”  (Ahmad 3:340)

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

{1. Alif Lam Mim.

2. The revelation of the Book in which there is no doubt, is from the Lord of all that exists.

3. Or say they: “He has fabricated it” Nay, it is the truth from your Lord, so that you may warn a people to whom no warner has come before you, in order that they may be guided.}

The Qur’an is the Book of Allah in which there is no Doubt

We discussed the individual letters at the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah, and there is no need to repeat it here. “The revelation of the Book in which there is no doubt,” means, there is no doubt whatsoever that it has been revealed “from the Lord of all that exists.” Then Allah tells us about the idolators: “Or say they: “He has fabricated it” they say, he has fabricated it, i.e., he has made it up by himself. “Nay, it is the truth from your Lord, so that you may warn a people to whom no warner has come before you, in order that they may be guided.” means, in order that they may follow the truth.

{4. Allah it is He Who has created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them in six Days. Then He Istawa over the Throne. You have none, besides Him, as a protector or an intercessor. Will you not then remember?

5. He directs the command from the heavens to the earth; then it will go up to Him, in one Day, the space whereof is a thousand years of your reckoning.

6. That is He, the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen, the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.}

Allah is the Creator and Controller of the Universe

Allah tells us that He is the Creator of all things. He created the heavens and earth and all that is between them in six days, then He rose over the Throne — we have already discussed this matter elsewhere. “You have none, besides Him, as a protector or an intercessor” means, only He is the Sovereign Who is in control of all affairs, the Creator of all things, the Controller of all things, the One Who is able to do all things. There is no Creator besides Him, no intercessor except the one to whom He gives permission. “Will you not then remember?” – this is addressed to those who worship others apart from Him and put their trust in others besides Him – exalted and sanctified and glorified be He above having any equal, partner, supporter, rival or peer, there is no God or Lord except Him. “He directs the command from the heavens to the earth; then it will go up to Him,” means, His command comes down from above the heavens to the furthest boundary of the seventh earth. This is like the Ayah, “It is Allah Who has created seven heavens and of the earth the like thereof. The command descends between them,” (65:12) Deeds are raised up to the place of recording above the lowest heaven. The distance between heaven and earth is the distance of five hundred years traveling, and the thickness of the heaven is the distance of five hundred years. Mujahid, Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak said, “The distance covered by the angel when he descends or ascends is the distance of five hundred years, but he covers it in the blink of an eye.” Allah says: “in one Day, the measurement of which is a thousand years of your reckoning. That is He, the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen,” meaning, He is controlling all these affairs. He sees all that His servants do, and all their deeds, major and minor, significant and insignificant, ascend to Him. He is the Almighty Who has subjugated all things to His control, and to Whom everybody submits, and He is Most Merciful to His believing servants. He is Almighty in His mercy and Most Merciful in His might. This is perfection: might combined with mercy and mercy combined with might, for He is Merciful without any hint of weakness.

{7. Who made everything He has created good and He began the creation of man from clay.

8. Then He made his offspring from semen of despised water.

9. Then He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him the soul; and He gave you hearing, sight and the sense of deduction. Little is the thanks you give!}

The Creation of Man in Stages

Allah tells us that He has created everything well and formed everything in a goodly fashion. Malik said, narrating from Zayd bin Aslam: “Who made everything He has created good” means, “He created everything well and in a goodly fashion.” When Allah mentions the creation of the heavens and the earth, He follows that by mentioning the creation of man. Allah says: “and He began the creation of man from clay.” meaning, He created the father of mankind, Adam, from clay. “Then He made his offspring from semen of despised water.” means, they reproduce in this fashion, from a Nutfah which comes from the loins of men and from between the ribs of women. “Then He fashioned him in due proportion,” means, when He created Adam from clay, He created him and gave him shape and made him upright. “and breathed into him the soul; and He gave you hearing, sight and the sense of deduction.” means, reason. “Little is the thanks you give!” means, for these strengths with which Allah has provided you; the one who is truly blessed is the one who uses them to worship and obey his Lord, may He be exalted and glorified.

{10. And they say: “When we are lost in the earth, shall we indeed be created anew?” Nay, but they deny the meeting with their Lord!

11. Say: “The angel of death, who is set over you, will take your souls. Then you shall be brought to your Lord.”}

Refutation of Those Who think the Resurrection is unlikely to happen

Allah tells us how the idolators thought it unlikely that the resurrection would ever come to pass, and how they said: “When we are lost in the earth,” meaning, ‘when our bodies have been scattered and have disintegrated and dispersed in the earth,’ “shall we indeed be created anew” means, after that, will we come back again’ They thought it unlikely that this would happen, and in terms of their own feeble abilities it is indeed unlikely, but this is not the case with regard to the power of the One Who created them from nothing, Who when He wills a thing merely says to it, “Be!” and it is. Allah says: “Nay, but they deny the meeting with their Lord!” Then Allah says: “Say: “The angel of death, who is set over you, will take your souls…” The apparent meaning of this Ayah is that the angel of death is a specific personality among the angels, as is also apparent from the Hadith of Al-Bara’ which we quoted in (our Tafsir of) Surah Ibrahim. In some reports he (the angel of death) is called Izra’il, which is well known. This is the view of Qatadah and others. The angel of death has helpers. (At-Tabari 20:175)

It was reported in the Hadith that his helpers draw out the soul from the rest of the body until it reaches the throat, then the angel of death takes it. Mujahid said, “The earth is brought together for him and it is like a platter from which he takes whenever he wants.” (At-Tabari 20:175) “Then you shall be brought to your Lord.” means, on the Day when you are resurrected and brought forth from your graves to receive your reward or punishment.

{12. And if you only could see when the criminals shall hang their heads before their Lord (saying): “Our Lord! We have now seen and heard, so send us back that we will do righteous good deeds. Verily, we now believe with certainty.”

13. And if We had willed, surely We would have given every person his guidance, but the Word from Me took effect, that I will fill Hell with Jinn and mankind together.

14.Then taste because of your forgetting the meeting of this Day of yours. Surely, We too will forget you, so taste you the abiding torment for what you used to do.}

The Bad State in which the Idolators will be on the Day of Resurrection

Allah tells us the state of the idolators on the Day of Resurrection and what they will say when they see the Resurrection and are standing before Allah – may He be glorified – humiliated and brought low, with their heads bowed, i.e., in shame. They will say: “Our Lord! We have now seen and heard,” meaning, ‘now we hear what You say and we will obey You.’ This is like the Ayah, “How clearly will they see and hear, the Day when they will appear before Us!” (19:38). And they will blame themselves when they enter the Fire, and will say:

“Had we but listened or used our intelligence, we would not have been among the dwellers of the blazing Fire!” (67:10) Similarly, here they are described as saying: “Our Lord! We have now seen and heard, so send us back” to the world, “that we will do righteous good deeds. Verily, we now believe with certainty.” means, ‘now we are sure and we believe that Your promise is true and that the meeting with You is true.’ But the Lord, may He be exalted, knows that if He were to send them back to this world, they would behave as they did previously, and they would reject and disbelieve in the signs of Allah and would go against His Messengers, as He says: “If you could but see when they will be held over the (Hell) Fire! They will say: “Would that we were but sent back! Then we would not deny the Ayat of our Lord,” (6: 27) And Allah says here: “And if We had willed, surely We would have given every person his guidance,” This is like the Ayah, “And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed, all of them together” (10:99). “but the Word from Me took effect, that I will fill Hell with Jinn and mankind together.” i.e., from both classes, so their abode will be Hell and they will have no escape from it and no way out. We seek refuge with Allah and in His perfect Words from that. “Then taste because of your forgetting the meeting of this Day of yours.” means, it will be said to the people of Hell by way of rebuke: ‘taste this punishment because you denied it and believed that it would never happen; you tried to forget about it and acted as if you had forgotten it.’ “Surely, We too will forget you,” means, ‘We will deal with you as if We have forgotten you,’ but nothing escapes Allah’s attention, and He makes the punishment fit the crime, as He says: “This Day We will forget you as you forgot the meeting of this Day of yours” (45:34). “so taste you the abiding torment for what you used to do.” i.e., because of your disbelief and rejection, as Allah says in another Ayah: “Nothing cool shall they taste therein, nor any drink. Except Hamim, and Ghassaq” until: “No increase shall We give you, except in torment” (78:24-30).

{15. Only those believe in Our Ayat, who, when they are reminded of them, fall down prostrate, and glorify the praises of their Lord, and they are not proud.

16.Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend out of what We have bestowed on them.

17. No person knows what is kept hidden for them of delights of eyes as a reward for what they used to do.}

The State of the People of Faith and Their Reward

Allah states: “Only those believe in Our Ayat,” means, who accept them as true, “who, when they are reminded of them, fall down prostrate,” means, they listen to them and obey them in word and deed. “and glorify the praises of their Lord, and they are not proud.” means, they are not too proud to follow them and submit to them, unlike the ignorant among the rebellious disbelievers. Allah says: “Verily, those who scorn My worship, they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!” (40:60). Then Allah says: “Their sides forsake their beds,” meaning, they pray the voluntary night prayer and forego sleep and resting on a comfortable bed. Mujahid and Al-Hasan said that the Ayah “Their sides forsake their beds,” refers to voluntary night prayer. (At-Tabari 20:180) Ad-Dahhak said, “It refers to Salat Al-Isha’ in congregation and Salat Al-Fajr in congregation. “to invoke their Lord in fear and hope,” means, in fear of His punishment and in hope of His reward. “and they spend out of what We have bestowed on them.” means, they do both obligatory and supererogatory acts of worship. Their leader in this world and the Hereafter is the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Muadh bin Jabal said, “I was with the Messenger of Allah on a journey one morning, walking near him. I said, ‘O Prophet of Allah, tell me of a deed that will grant me admittance to Paradise and keep me away from Hell.’ He said:

“You have asked about something great, and it is easy for the one for whom Allah makes it easy. Worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him, establish regular prayer, pay Zakah, fast Ramadan and perform pilgrimage to the House.”

Then he said:

“Shall I not tell you of the gates of goodness? Fasting is a shield, charity wipes out sin, and the prayer of a man in the depths of the night.”

Then he recited: “Their sides forsake their beds,” until he reached “as a reward for what they used to do.” Then he said:

“Shall I not tell you of the greatest of all things and its pillars and pinnacle?”

I said, ‘Of course, O Messenger of Allah.’ He said:

“The greatest of all things is Islam, its pillars are the prayers and its pinnacle is Jihad for the sake of Allah.”

Then he said:

“Shall I not tell you the factor on which all of that depends?”

I said, ‘Of course, O Messenger of Allah.’ He took hold of his tongue and said,

“Restrain this.”

I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, will we be accountable for what we say?’ He said,

“May your mother be bereft of you, O Muadh! Will the people be thrown into Hell – (or he said) on their faces – except because of what their tongues say?” (Ahmad 5:231)

It was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah in their Sunans. At-Tirmidhi said, “It is Hasan Sahih.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 7:361)

“No person knows what is kept hidden for them of delights of eyes” means, no one knows the vastness of what Allah has concealed for them of everlasting joy in Paradise and delights such as no one has ever seen. Because they conceal their good deeds, Allah conceals the reward for them, a fitting reward which will suit their deeds. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “If people conceal their good deeds, Allah will conceal for them what no eye has seen and what has never crossed the mind of man. It was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim. Al-Bukhari quoted the Ayah: “No person knows what is kept hidden for them of delights of eyes” Then he recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Allah says: “I have prepared for My righteous servants what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and it has never crossed the mind of man.”

Abu Hurayrah said: “Recite, if you wish: “No person knows what is kept hidden for them of delights of eyes.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:375)

It was also recorded by Muslim and At-Tirmidhi. At-Tirmidhi said, “It is Hasan Sahih.” In another version of Al-Bukhari:

“and no body has ever even imagined of. All that is reserved, besides which, all that you have seen is nothing.”

It was also reported from Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Whoever enters Paradise, will enjoy a life of luxury and never feel deprivation, his clothes will never wear out, his youth will never fade. In Paradise there is what no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and has never crossed the mind of man.”

This was recorded by Muslim. (At-Tabari 20:186, Muslim 4:2181)

{18. Is then he who is a believer like him who is rebellious? Not equal are they.

19.As for those who believe and do righteous good deeds, for them are Gardens of Abode as an entertainment for what they used to do.

20. And as for those who rebel, their abode will be the Fire, every time they wish to get away therefrom, they will be put back thereto, and it will be said to them: “Taste you the torment of the Fire which you used to deny.”

21. And verily, We will make them taste of the near lighter torment prior to the greater torment, in order that they may return.

22. And who does more wrong than he who is reminded of the Ayat of his Lord, then turns aside therefrom? Verily, We shall exact retribution from the criminals.}

The Believer and the Rebellious are not equal

Allah tells us that in His justice and generosity, on the Day of Judgement He will not judge those who believed in His signs and followed His Messengers, in the same way as He will judge those who rebelled, disobeyed Him and rejected the Messengers sent by Allah to them. This is like the Ayat: “Or do those who earn evil deeds think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe and do righteous good deeds, in their present life and after their death Worst is the judgement that they make.” (45:21), “Is then he who is a believer like him who is a rebellious Not equal are they.” i.e., before Allah on the Day of Resurrection. Ata’ bin Yasar, As-Suddi and others mentioned that this was revealed concerning Ali bin Abi Talib and Uqbah bin Abi Muit. (At-Tabari 20:188)

Hence Allah has judged between them when He said: “As for those who believe and do righteous good deeds,” meaning, their hearts believed in the signs of Allah, and they did as the signs of Allah dictate, i.e. righteous good deeds. “for them are Gardens of Abode” i.e., in which there are dwellings and houses and lofty apartments. “as an entertainment” means, something to welcome and honor a guest, “for what they used to do. And as for those who rebel,” means, those who disobeyed Allah, their dwelling place will be the Fire, and every time they want to escape from it, they will be thrown back in, as Allah says: “Every time they seek to get away therefrom, from anguish, they will be driven back therein” (22:22). Al-Fudayl bin Iyad said: “By Allah, their hands will be tied, their feet will be chained, the flames will lift them up and the angels will strike them. “and it will be said to them: “Taste you the torment of the Fire which you used to deny. means, this will be said to them by way of rebuke and chastisement. “And verily, We will make them taste of the near lighter torment prior to the greater torment,” Ibn Abbas said, “The near torment means diseases and problems in this world, and the things that happen to its people as a test from Allah to His servants so that they will repent to Him.” (At-Tabari 20:189)  Something similar was also narrated from Ubayy bin Kab, Abu Al-Aliyah, Al-Hasan, Ibrahim An-Nakhai, Ad-Dahhak, Alqamah, Atiyah, Mujahid, Qatadah, `Abd Al-Karim Al-Jazari and Khusayf. (At-Tabari 20:189)

“And who does more wrong than he who is reminded of the Ayat of his Lord, then turns aside therefrom?” means, there is no one who does more wrong than the one whom Allah reminds of His signs and explains them to him clearly, then after that he neglects and ignores them, and turns away from them, forgetting them as if he does not know them. Qatadah said: “Beware of turning away from the remembrance of Allah, for whoever turns away from remembering Him will be the most misguided and the most in need, and the most guilty of sin.” Allah says, warning the one who does that: “Verily, We shall exact retribution from the criminals.” meaning, ‘We shall avenge Ourselves on those who do that in the strongest possible terms.’

{23. And indeed We gave Musa the Scripture. So, be not you in doubt of meeting him. And We made it a guide to the Children of Israel.

24. And We made from among them, leaders, giving guidance under Our command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat.

25. Verily, your Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection, concerning that wherein they used to differ.}

The Book of Musa and the Leadership of the Children of Israel

Allah tells us that He gave the Book – the Tawrah – to His servant and Messenger Musa, peace be upon him. “So, be not you in doubt of meeting him.” Qatadah said, “This refers to the Night of Isra’,” (At-Tabari 20:193) then he narrated that Abu Al-Aliyah Ar-Riyahi said, “The cousin of your Prophet, meaning Ibn Abbas, told me that the Messenger of Allah said:

“On the night of Isra’, I saw Musa bin Imran, a tall, brown-skinned man with curly hair, looking like the men of Shanu’ah; and I saw Isa, a man of medium stature and ruddy white skin, and with lank hair. And I saw Malik the Keeper of Hell, and the Dajjal.”

Among the signs which Allah showed him were: “So, be not you in doubt of meeting him.” i.e., he saw Musa and met with him on the Night of Isra’.” (At-Tabari 20:194) “And We made it” means, ‘the Book which We gave to him, ‘ “a guide to the Children of Israel.” This is similar to what Allah says in Surat Al-Isra’: “And We gave Musa the Scripture and made it a guidance for the Children of Israel (saying): “Take none other than Me as Trustee.” (17:2) “And We made from among them, leaders, giving guidance under Our command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat.” means, because they were patient in adhering to the commands of Allah and avoiding what He prohibited, and they believed in His Messengers and followed what they brought, there were among them leaders who guided others to the truth by the command of Allah, calling for goodness, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. Then when they changed [the Words of Allah], twisting and distorting them, they lost that position and their hearts became hard. They change the words from their places, so they do no righteous deeds and have no correct beliefs. Allah says: “And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our command, when they were patient” Qatadah and Sufyan said: “When they patiently shunned the temptations of this world.” This was also the view of Al-Hasan bin Salih. Sufyan said, “This is how these people were. A man cannot be an example to be followed unless he shuns the temptation of this world.” Allah says: “And indeed We gave the Children of Israel the Scripture, and the understanding of the Scripture and its laws, and the prophethood; and provided them with good things, and preferred them above the nations. And We gave them clear proofs in matters.” (45:16-17). And He says here: “Verily, your Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection, concerning that wherein they used to differ.” meaning, with regard to beliefs and actions.

{26. Is it not a guidance for them: how many generations We have destroyed before them in whose dwellings they do walk about Verily, therein indeed are signs. Would they not then listen?

27. Have they not seen how We drive water to the dry land that has no vegetation, and therewith bring forth crops providing food for their cattle and themselves Will they not then see?}

Learning the Lessons of the Past

Allah says: will these people who deny the Messengers not learn from the nations who came before them, whom Allah destroyed for their rejection of His Messengers and their opposition to what the Messengers brought them of the straight path No trace is left of them whatsoever. “Can you find a single one of them or hear even a whisper of them?” (19:98). Allah says: “in whose dwellings they do walk about” meaning, these disbelievers walk about in the places where those disbelievers used to live, but they do not see any of those who used to live there, for they have gone – “As if they had never lived there” (11:68) This is like the Ayat: “These are their houses in utter ruin, for they did wrong” (27:52). “And many a township did We destroy while they were given to wrongdoing, so that it lie in ruins, and (many) a deserted well and lofty castle! Have they not traveled through the land” until: “but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind.” (22:45-46) Allah says here: “Verily, therein indeed are signs.” meaning, in the fact that these people are gone and have been destroyed, and in what happened to them because they disbelieved the Messengers, and how those who believed in them were saved, there are many signs, proofs and important lessons. “Would they not then listen?” means, to the stories of those who came before and what happened to them.

The Revival of the Earth with Water is Proof of the Resurrection to come

“Have they not seen how We drive water to the dry land?” Here Allah explains His kindness and goodness towards them by His sending water to them, whether from the sky or from water flowing through the land, water carried by rivers down from the mountains to the lands that need it at particular times. Allah says: “to the dry land” which means the land where nothing grows, as in the Ayah, “And verily, We shall make all that is on it a bare dry soil.” (18:8) i.e., barren land where nothing grows. Allah says here: “Have they not seen how We drive water to the dry land that has no vegetation, and therewith bring forth crops providing food for their cattle and themselves Will they not then see?” This is like the Ayah, “Then let man look at his food: We pour forth water in abundance.” (80:24-25). Allah says here: “Will they not then see?” 

How the Disbelievers sought to hasten on the Punishment, and what happened to Them

Allah tells us how the disbelievers sought to hasten on the punishment, and to bring the wrath and vengeance of Allah upon themselves, because they thought this punishment would never happen, and because of their disbelief and stubbornness. “They say: “When will this Fath be…” meaning, ‘when will you prevail over us, O Muhammad, since you claim that there will be a time when you will gain the upper hand over us and take your revenge on us, so when will that happen All we see of you and your companions is that you are hiding, afraid and humiliated.’ Allah says: “Say: “On the Day of Al-Fath…” meaning, `when the wrath and punishment of Allah befall you, in this world and the next,’ “no profit will it be to those who disbelieve if they (then) believe! Nor will they be granted a respite.” This is like the Ayah, “Then when their Messengers came to them with clear proofs, they were glad with that which they had of the knowledge…” (40:83-85) Those who claim that this refers to the conquest of Makkah go too far, and have made a grievous mistake, for on the day of the conquest of Makkah, the Messenger of Allah accepted the Islam of the freed Makkan prisoners-of-war, who numbered nearly two thousand. If what was meant by this Ayah was the conquest of Makkah, he would not have accepted their Islam, because Allah says: “Say: “On the Day of Al-Fath, no profit will it be to those who disbelieve if they (then) believe! Nor will they be granted a respite.” What is meant by Al-Fath here is Judgement, as in the Ayat: “Nuh said: “So Aftah (judge) between me and them” (26:118). and: “Say: “Our Lord will assemble us all together, then He will judge between us with truth (34:26). “And they sought judgement and every obstinate, arrogant dictator was brought to a complete loss and destruction.” (14:15) “although aforetime they had invoked Allah to pass judgement over those who disbelieved” (2:89) “If you ask for a judgement, now has the judgement come unto you” (8:19). Then Allah says: “So turn aside from them and await, verily, they (too) are awaiting.” meaning, ‘turn away from these idolators, and convey that which has been revealed to you from your Lord.’ This is like the Ayah, “Follow what has been revealed to you from your Lord, there is no God but Him.” (6:106) ‘Wait until Allah fulfills that which He has promised you, and grants you victory over those who oppose you, for He never breaks His promise.’ “verily, they (too) are awaiting.” means, ‘you are waiting, and they are waiting and plotting against you,’ “Or do they say: “A poet! We await for him some calamity by time!” (52:30). ‘You will see the consequences of your patience towards them, and the fulfillment of the promise of your Lord in your victory over them, and they will see the consequences of their wait for something bad to befall you and your Companions, in that Allah’s punishment will come upon them.’

Sufficient unto us is Allah, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs.

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat As-Sajdah.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 605-629

 

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Surah Luqman Ayat 1-34 (end)

Surah Luqman

(Chapter 31) 

Which was Revealed in Makkah

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

 

{1. Alif.Lam.Mim.

2. These are revelations of the wise Scripture

3. A guidance and a mercy for the good

4. Those who establish worship and pay the poor due and have sure faith in the Hereafter.

5. Such have guidance from their Lord. Such are the successful.

At the beginning of Surah Al-Baqarah we discussed the letters such as those that appear at the beginning of this Surah. Allah has made the Qur’an a guidance and healing and a mercy for the Muhsinin, who are those who do good deeds in accordance with the Shariah. They establish the obligatory prayers in the proper manner and at the correct times, and follow that with regular, optional and supererogatory prayers; they pay the Zakah to those who deserve it; they uphold the ties of kinship with their relatives; they have certain faith that there will be rewards and punishments in the Hereafter, and they seek the reward with Allah; they do not show off or seek a reward or thanks from other people. Whoever does this is one of those whom Allah says: “Such are on guidance from their Lord,” meaning, they follow His guidance with clear understanding. “and such are the successful” in this world and the Hereafter.

6. And of mankind is he who purchases Lahu Al-Hadith to mislead (men) from the path of Allah without knowledge and takes it by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment.

7. And when Our Ayat are recited to such a one, he turns away in pride, as if he heard them not – as if there were deafness in his ear. So announce to him a painful torment.}

The Doomed are preoccupied with Idle Talk and They turn away from the Ayat of Allah

When Allah mentions the blessed – who are those who are guided by the Book of Allah and benefit from hearing it, as He says: “Allah has sent down the Best Statement, a Book, its parts resembling each other (and) oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it. Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah” (39:23). He connect that with mention of the doomed, those who turn away from the Qur’an and do not benefit from hearing the Words of Allah. Instead, they turn to listening to flutes and singing accompanied by musical instruments. As Ibn Masud commented about the Ayah: “And of mankind is he who purchases Lahu Al-Hadith to mislead (men) from the path of Allah”, he said, “This – by Allah – refers to singing.” (At-Tabari 20:127) “And of mankind is he who purchases Lahw Al-Hadith to mislead (men) from the path of Allah without knowledge,” Qatadah said: “By Allah, he may not spend money on it, but his purchasing it means he likes it, and the more misguided he is, the more he likes it and the more he prefers falsehood to the truth and harmful things over beneficial things.” (At-Tabari 20:127) It was said that what is meant by the words “purchases idle talks” is buying singing servant girls. Ibn Jarir said that it means all speech that hinders people from seeing the signs of Allah and following His path. (At-Tabari 20:130) His saying: “to mislead (men) from the path of Allah” means, he does this to oppose Islam and its followers. “and takes it by way of mockery.” Mujahid said, “This means mocking the path of Allah and making fun of it.” (At-Tabari 20:131) “For such there will be a humiliating torment.” Just as they showed no respect to the signs and path of Allah, so they will be shown no respect on the Day of Resurrection, and they will be subjected to a painful, ongoing torment. Then Allah says: “And when Our Ayat are recited to such a one, he turns away in pride, as if he heard them not — as if there were deafness in his ear.” means, when these Qur’anic verses are recited to one who is fond of idleness and play, he turns away from them and does not want to hear them. He turns a deaf ear to them as if he can hear nothing, because it annoys him to hear them since he gains no benefit from them and has no interest in them. “So announce to him a painful torment.” i.e., on the Day of Resurrection, which will hurt him just as much as listening to the Book of Allah and its verses hurt him.

{8. Verily, those who believe and do righteous good deeds, for them are Gardens of Delight.

9. To abide therein. It is a promise of Allah in truth. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.}

The Good Destiny of the Believers

Here Allah mentions the destiny of the righteous in the Hereafter, those who believe in Allah and His Messenger and do righteous deeds in accordance with the Laws of Allah. “for them are Gardens of Delight.” means, there they will enjoy all kinds of delights and pleasures, food, drink, clothing, dwelling-places, means of transportation, women, a light of beauty and delightful sounds, which have never crossed the mind of any human being. They will stay there forever, never leaving and never desiring change. “It is a promise of Allah in truth.” meaning, this will undoubtedly come to pass, for it is a promise from Allah, and Allah never breaks His promise, because He is the Most Generous Bestower Who does what He wills and is able to do all things. “And He is the All-Mighty,” Who has subjugated all things and to Whom all things submit, “the All-Wise.” in what He says and what He does, Who has made this Qur’an a guidance to the believers. “Say: “It is for those who believe, a guide and a healing. And as for those who disbelieve, there is heaviness (deafness) in their ears, and it is blindness for them” (41:44). “And We send down of the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe, and it increases the wrongdoers nothing but loss.” (17:82)

{10. He has created the heavens without any pillars that you see, and has set on the earth firm mountains lest it should shake with you. And He has scattered therein moving creatures of all kinds. And We send down water from the sky, and We cause (plants) of every goodly kind to grow therein in pairs,

11. This is the creation of Allah. So, show Me that which those besides Him have created. Nay, the wrongdoers are in plain error.}

Proofs of Tawhid

Thus Allah explains His mighty power in creating the heavens and the earth, and everything that is within them and between them. He says: “He has created the heavens without any pillars” Al-Hasan and Qatadah said, “It does not have any pillars, visible or invisible.” (At-Tabari 20:132) “and has set on the earth firm mountains” means, the mountains which stabilize and lend weight to the earth, lest it should shake with its water. Allah says: “lest it should shake with you.” “And He has scattered therein moving creatures of all kinds” means, He has placed throughout it all kinds of animals, the total number of whose kinds and colours is known to no one except the One Who created them. When Allah tells us that He is the Creator, He also reminds us that He is the Provider, as He says: “And We send down water from the sky, and We cause (plants) of every goodly kind to grow therein in pairs” meaning, every kind of good produce in pairs, i.e., they are beautiful to look at. Ash-Shabi said: “People are also produce of the earth, so whoever enters Paradise is goodly and whoever enters Hell is vile.” “This is the creation of Allah.” means, all that Allah has mentioned here of the creation of the heavens and earth and everything in between stems from His power of creation and control alone, and He has no partner or associate in that, Allah says: “So, show Me that which those besides Him have created.” those idols and rivals whom you worship and call upon. “Nay, the wrongdoers” means the idolators who associate others in worship with Allah “in error” means, they are ignorant and blind. “plain” means, it is clear and obvious, and not at all hidden.

{12. And indeed We bestowed upon Luqman Al-Hikmah saying: “Give thanks to Allah.” And whoever gives thanks, he gives thanks for (the good of) himself. And whoever is unthankful, then verily, Allah is All-Rich, Worthy of all praise.}

Luqman

The Salaf differed over the identity of Luqman; there are two opinions: was he a Prophet or just a righteous servant of Allah without the prophethood? The majority favoured the latter view, that he was a righteous servant of Allah without being a Prophet. Sufyan Ath-Thawri said, narrating from Al-Ashath, from Ikrimah, from Ibn Abbas, “Luqman was an Ethiopian slave who was a carpenter. (At-Tabari 10:135)

Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr said, “I said to Jabir bin Abdullah: ‘What did you hear about Luqman?’ He said: ‘He was short with a flat nose, and came from Nubia.”’ (Ibn Abi Hatim 9:3097)

Yahya bin Said Al-Ansari narrated from Said bin Al-Musayyib that “Luqman was from the black peoples of (southern) Egypt, and had thick lips. Allah gave him wisdom but withheld prophethood from him.” (At-Tabari 20:135)

Al-Awzai said, “Abdur-Rahman bin Harmalah told me; ‘A black man came to Said bin Al-Musayyib to ask him a question, and Said bin Al-Musayyib said to him: “Do not be upset because you are black, for among the best of people were three who were black: Bilal, Mahja the freed slave of Umar bin Al-Khattab, and Luqman the Wise, who was a black Nubian with thick lips.” (At-Tabari 20:135)

Ibn Jarir recorded that Khalid Ar-Rabai said: “Luqman was an Ethiopian slave who was a carpenter. His master said to him, ‘Slaughter this sheep for us,’ so he slaughtered it. [His master] said: ‘Bring the best two pieces from it,’ so he brought out the tongue and the heart. Then time passed, as much as Allah willed, and [his master] said: ‘Slaughter this sheep for us,’ so he slaughtered it. [His master] said, ‘Bring the worst two morsels from it,’ so he brought out the tongue and the heart. His master said to him, ‘I told you to bring out the best two pieces, and you brought these, then I told you to bring out the worst two pieces, and you brought these!’ Luqman said, ‘There is nothing better than these if they are good, and there is nothing worse than these if they are bad.”’ (At-Tabari 20:135)

Shubah narrated from Al-Hakam, from Mujahid, “Luqman was a righteous servant, but he was not a Prophet.” (At-Tabari 20:134)

Allah’s saying: “And indeed We bestowed upon Luqman Al-Hikmah” means, understanding, knowledge and eloquence. “saying: “Give thanks to Allah.” means, ‘We commanded him to give thanks to Allah for the blessings and favors that Allah had given to him alone among his people and contemporaries.’ Then Allah says: “And whoever gives thanks, he gives thanks for (the good of) himself.” meaning, the benefit of that will come back to him, and Allah’s reward is for those who give thanks, as He says: “and whosoever does righteous good deeds, then such will prepare a good place for themselves.” (30:44) “And whoever is unthankful, then verily, Allah is Rich, Worthy of all praise.” He has no need of His servants and He will not be harmed by that, even if all the people of the earth were to disbelieve, for He has no need of anything or anyone besides Himself. There is no God but He, and we worship none but Him.

{13. And when Luqman said to his son when he was advising him: “O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah. Verily, joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed.”

14. And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years – give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination.

15. But if they strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not; but behave with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and in obedience. Then to Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.}

Luqman’s Advice to His Son

Allah tells us how Luqman advised his son. His full name was Luqman bin Anqa’ bin Sadun, and his son’s name was Tharan, according to a saying quoted by As-Suhayli. Allah describes him in the best terms, and states that he granted him wisdom. Luqman advised his son, the closest and most beloved of all people to him, who deserved to be given the best of his knowledge. So, Luqman started by advising him to worship Allah Alone, and not to associate anything with Him. Then he warned him: “Verily, joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed.” meaning, it is the greatest wrong. Al-Bukhari recorded that Abdullah said: “When the Ayah “It is those who believe and confuse not their belief with Zulm” (6:82) was revealed, the Companions of the Messenger of Allah were distressed by this, and said, ‘Who among us does not confuse his belief with Zulm?’ The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“That is not what it means. Have you not heard what Luqman said: “O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah. Verily, joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed)”

It was recorded by Muslim. (Fath Al-Bari 8:372)

When Luqman advised his son to worship Allah Alone, he also told him to honour his parents. This is like the Ayah, “And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents” (17:23). These two things are often mentioned together in the Qur’an. Allah says here: “And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship,” Mujahid said: “The hardship of bearing the child.” (At-Tabari 20:137) Qatadah said: “Exhaustion upon exhaustion.” (At-Tabari 10:137) Ata’ Al-Khurasani said: “Weakness upon weakness.” “and his weaning is in two years” means, after he is born, he is breastfed and weaned within two years. This is like the Ayah, “The mothers shall give suck to their children for two whole years, for those who desire to complete the term of suckling” (2:233). On this basis, Ibn Abbas and other Imams understood that the shortest possible period of pregnancy was six months, because Allah says elsewhere: “and the bearing of him, and the weaning of him is thirty months” (46:15). Allah mentions how the mother brings the child up, and how she gets tired and suffers stress from staying up with the child night and day, to remind the son of her previous kind treatment of him. This is like the Ayah, “and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.” (17:24). Allah says here: “give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination.” means, ‘I will reward you most generously for that.’ “But if they strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not” means, if they try hard to make you follow them in their religion, then do not accept that from them, but do not let that stop you from behaving with them in the world kindly, i.e. treating them with respect. “and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and in obedience.” means, the believers. “Then to Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.” At-Tabarani recorded in Al-Ishrah that Sad bin Malik said, “This Ayah, “But if they strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not” was revealed concerning me. I was a man who honored his mother, but when I became Muslim, she said: ‘O Sad! What is this new thing I see you doing? Leave this religion of yours, or I will not eat or drink until I die, and people will say: Shame on you, for what you have done to me, and they will say that you have killed your mother.’ I said, ‘Do not do that, O mother, for I will not give up this religion of mine for anything.’ She stayed without eating for one day and one night, and she became exhausted; then she stayed for another day and night without eating, and she became utterly exhausted. When I saw that, I said: ‘O my mother, by Allah, even if you had one hundred souls and they were to depart one by one, I would not give up this religion of mine for anything, so if you want to, eat, and if you want to, do not eat.’ So she ate.” (Mentioned by Ibn Al-Athir in Usd Al-Ghabah 2:216)

{16. “O my son! If it be (anything) equal to the weight of a grain of mustard seed, and though it be in a rock, or in the heavens or on the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Verily, Allah is Subtle, Well-Aware.”

17.”O my son! Perform the Salah, enjoin the good, and forbid the evil, and bear with patience whatever befalls you. Verily, these are some of the important commandments.”

18. “And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not any arrogant boaster.”

19. “And be moderate in your walking, and lower your voice. Verily, the harshest of all voices is the braying of the asses.”}

This is useful advice which Allah tells us Luqman gave, so that people may follow it and take it as a good example. He said: “O my son! If it be (anything) equal to the weight of a grain of mustard seed,” means, if a wrong action or a sin be equal to the size of a grain of mustard seed. “Allah will bring it forth.” means, He will bring it forth on the Day of Resurrection, when it is placed in the Scales of justice and everyone is rewarded or punished for his actions – if they are good, he will be rewarded and if they are bad he will be punished. This is like the Ayat: “And We shall set up Balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything” (21:47). “So, whosoever does good equal to the weight of a speck of dust shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of a speck of dust shall see it.” (99:7-8) Even if this tiny thing were to be hidden inside a solid rock or anywhere in the heavens and the earth, Allah will bring it forth, because nothing is hidden from Him, not even the weight of a speck of dust in the heavens or on the earth. Allah says: “Verily, Allah is Subtle, Well-Aware.” meaning, His knowledge is subtle, for nothing is hidden from Him, no matter how small, subtle and minute. “Well-Aware.” even of the footsteps of an ant in the darkest night. Then he (Luqman) said: “O my son! Perform the Salah,” meaning, offer the prayer properly at the appointed times. “enjoin the good, and forbid the evil,” meaning, to the best of your ability and strength. “and bear with patience whatever befalls you.” Luqman knew that whoever enjoins what is good and forbids what is evil, will inevitably encounter harm and annoyance from people, so he told him to be patient. “Verily, these are some of the important commandments.” means, being patient when people cause harm or annoyance is one of the most important commandments. “And turn not your face away from men with pride” means, ‘do not turn your face away from people when you speak to them or they speak to you, looking down on them in an arrogant fashion. Rather be gentle towards them and greet them with a cheerful face,’ as it says in the Hadith: “… even if it is only by greeting your brother with a cheerful countenance. And beware of letting your lower garment trail below your ankles, for this is a kind of boasting, and Allah does not like boasting.” (Abu Dawud 4:345)  “nor walk in insolence through the earth.” means, ‘do not be boastful, arrogant, proud and stubborn. Do not do that, for Allah will hate you.’ So he said: “Verily, Allah likes not any arrogant boaster.” meaning, one who shows off and admires himself, feeling that he is better than others. And Allah says: “And walk not on the earth with conceit and arrogance. Verily, you can neither rend nor penetrate the earth nor can you attain a stature like the mountains in height.” (17:37). We have already discussed this is detail in the appropriate place.

The Command to be Moderate in Walking

“And be moderate in your walking,” means, walk in a moderate manner, neither slow and lazy nor excessively fast, but be moderate, somewhere in between these two extremes. “and lower your voice.” means, do not exaggerate in your speaking and do not raise your voice unnecessarily. Allah says: “Verily, the harshest of all voices is the braying of the asses.” Mujahid and others said, “The most ugly of voices is the voice of the donkey, i.e., when a person raises his voice, the resulting noise is like the voice of a donkey in its loudness. Moreover this is hateful to Allah. Likening a loud voice to that of a donkey implies that it is forbidden and extremely blameworthy, because the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“It is not befitting us to be an evil parable. The person who takes back his gift, he is like a dog that vomits and then goes back to his vomit.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 4:522)

The Advice of Luqman

This is very useful advice, which the Qur’an tells us about Luqman. Many other proverbs and words of advice were also narrated from him, some examples of which we will quote below, as basic principles: Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Umar said, “The Messenger of Allah said: “Luqman the Wise used to say: when something is entrusted to the care of Allah, He protects it.” (Ahmad 2:87) It was narrated that As-Sari bin Yahya said: “Luqman said to his son: ‘Wisdom puts the poor in the company of kings.”’ (Ad-Durr Al-Mathur 5:316)

It was also narrated that Awn bin Abdullah said: “Luqman said to his son: ‘O my son! When you come to a gathering of people, greet them with Salam, then sit at the edge of the group, and do not speak until you see that they have finished speaking. Then if they remember Allah, join them, but if they speak of anything else, then leave them and go to another group’.” (Az-Zuhd by Ibn Al-Mubarak 332)

{20. See you not that Allah has subjected for you whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is on the earth, and has completed and perfected His graces upon you, apparent and hidden? Yet of mankind is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge or guidance or a Book giving light!

21. And when it is said to them: “Follow that which Allah has sent down,” they say: “Nay, we shall follow that which we found our fathers (following).” Even if Shaytan invites them to the torment of the Fire}

Reminder of Blessings

Here Allah reminds His creation of the blessings He bestows upon them in this world and the Hereafter. In the heavens He has subjugated for them the stars which give them light during the night and during the day, and He has created clouds, rain, snow and hail, and made the heavens a canopy which covers and protects them. On earth He has created for them stability and rivers, trees, crops and fruits; He has completed and perfected His graces upon them, apparent and hidden, by sending Messengers, revealing Books and removing doubts and excuses. Yet despite all this, not all the people believe, and indeed there are those who dispute concerning Allah, that is, His Tawhid, and His sending the Messengers. Their dispute is without knowledge and they have no sound evidence or valid inherited Book. Allah says: “And among men is he who disputes about Allah, without knowledge or guidance, or a Book giving light (from Allah).” (22:8) meaning clear and unambiguous. “And when it is said to them” means, to these people who dispute about the Oneness of Allah. “Follow that which Allah has sent down,” means, the pure Divine Laws that He has sent down to His Messengers, “they say: “Nay, we shall follow that which we found our fathers (following).” means, they have no other proof except the fact that they are following their forefathers. Allah says: “Even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided” (2:170) meaning, ‘what do you think, you who take the forefathers’ deeds as proof, that they were misguided and you are following in their footsteps’ Allah says: “Even if Shaytan invites them to the torment of the Fire.”

{22. And whosoever submits his face (himself) to Allah, while he is a Muhsin, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold. And to Allah return all matters for decision.

23. And whoever disbelieves, let not his disbelief grieve you. To Us is their return, and We shall inform them what they have done. Verily, Allah is the All-Knower of what is in the breasts.

24. We let them enjoy for a little while, then in the end We shall oblige them to (enter) a great torment.}

Allah tells us that whoever submits his face to Allah, i.e., does deeds sincerely for His sake, submits to His commandments and follows His Laws, “while he is a Muhsin” i.e., doing what his Lord has commanded and abstaining from what He has forbidden, “then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold.” means, he has received a firm promise from Allah that He will not punish him. “And to Allah return all matters for decision. And whoever disbelieves, let not his disbelief grieve you.” means, ‘do not grieve over them, O Muhammad, because they disbelieve in Allah and in the Message you have brought, for their return will be to Allah and He will tell them what they used to do,’ i.e., He will punish them for it. “Verily, Allah is the All-Knower of what is in the breasts.” and nothing whatsoever is hidden from Him. Then Allah says: “We let them enjoy for a little while,” means, in this world, “then in the end We shall oblige them” means, ‘We shall cause them,’ “to (enter) a great torment.” means, a torment that is terrifying and difficult to bear. This is like the Ayah, “Verily, those who invent a lie against Allah, will never be successful.” Enjoyment in this world! and then unto Us will be their return, then We shall make them taste the severest torment because they used to disbelieve.” (10:69-70)

{25. And if you ask them: “Who has created the heavens and the earth,” they will certainly say: “Allah.” Say: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah!” But most of them know not.

26. To Allah belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth. Verily, Allah, He is Al-Ghani, Worthy of all praise.} 

The Idolators admitted that Allah is the Creator

Allah tells us that these idolators who associated others with Him admitted that Allah Alone, with no partner or associate, is the Creator of heaven and earth yet they still worshipped others besides Him who they recognized were created by Him and subjugated to Him. Allah says: “And if you ask them: “Who has created the heavens and the earth,” they will certainly say: “Allah.” Say: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah!” By their admitting that, proof is established against them, “But most of them know not.” Then Allah says: “To Allah belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth.” meaning, He created it and has dominion over it. “Verily, Allah, He is Al-Ghani, Worthy of all praise.” means, He has no need of anyone or anything besides Himself, and everything else is in need of Him. He is Worthy of praise for all that He has created, so praise be to Him in the heavens and on earth for all that He has created and decreed, and He is worthy of praise in all affairs.

{27. And if all the trees on the earth were pens and the sea, with seven seas behind it to add to it, yet the Words of Allah would not be exhausted. Verily, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.

28. The creation of you all and the resurrection of you all are only as a single person. Verily, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Seer.}

The Words of Allah cannot be counted or exhausted

Allah tells us of His might, pride, majesty, beautiful Names and sublime Attributes, and His perfect Words which no one can encompass. No human being knows their essence or nature, or how many they are. As the Leader of Mankind and Seal of the Messengers, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“I cannot praise You enough; You are as You have praised yourself.” (Muslim 1:352)

Allah says: “And if all the trees on the earth were pens and the sea, with seven seas behind it to add to its, yet the Words of Allah would not be exhausted.” meaning, even if all the trees on earth were made into pens and the sea was made into ink, and topped up with seven more like it, and they were used to write the Words of Allah showing His might, attributes and majesty, the pens would break and the ink would run dry, even if more were brought. The number seven is used to indicate a large amount, it is not to be taken literally or to be understood as referring to the seven oceans of the world, as was suggested by those who took this idea from Israelite stories, which we neither believe nor reject. As Allah says elsewhere: “Say: “If the sea were ink for the Words of my Lord, surely, the sea would be exhausted before the Words of my Lord would be finished, even if We brought like it for its aid.” (18:109). The words (like it) do not mean merely another one, but another like it and another and another and another, etc., because there is no limit to the signs and Words of Allah. “Verily, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” means, He is All-Mighty and has subjugated all things to His will, so nothing can prevent what He wills, and none can oppose or put back His decision. He is All-Wise in His creation, commands, Words, actions, Laws and all His affairs. “The creation of you all and the resurrection of you all are only as a single person.” means, His creation and resurrection of all of mankind on the Day of Resurrection is, in relation to His power, like the creation and resurrection of a single soul; all of this is easy for Him. “Verily, His command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, “Be!” – and it is!” (36:82) “And Our commandment is but one as the twinkling of an eye.” (54:50). This means He only has to command a thing once, and it will happen. There is no need for Him to repeat it or confirm it. “But it will be only a single Zajrah. When behold, they find themselves on the surface of the earth alive after their death.” (79:13) “Verily, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Seer.” means, just as He hears all that they say, so He also sees all that they do, as if He is hearing and seeing a single soul. His power over all of them is like His power over a single soul, Allah says: “The creation of you all and the resurrection of you all are only as a single person.” 

{29. See you not that Allah merges the night into the day, and merges the day into the night, and has subjected the sun and the moon, each running its course for a term appointed; and that Allah is All-Aware of what you do.

30. That is because Allah, He is the Truth, and that which they invoke besides Him is falsehood; and that Allah, He is the Most High, the Most Great.}

The Might and Power of Allah

Allah tells us that He “merges the night into the day” meaning, He takes from the night and adds to the day, so that the day becomes longer and the night shorter, which is what happens in summer when the days are longest; then the day starts to become shorter and the night longer, which is what happens in winter. “and has subjected the sun and the moon, each running its course for a term appointed” It was said that this means, each runs within its set limits, or it means until the Day of Resurrection; both meanings are correct. The first view is supported by the Hadith of Abu Dharr, may Allah be pleased with him, in the Two Sahihs, according to which the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“O Abu Dharr! Do you know where this sun goes?”

I (Abu Dharr) said: “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said:

“It goes and prostrates beneath the Throne, then it seeks permission from its Lord, and soon it will be said: “Go back from whence you came.” (Al-Bukhari no.4803, Muslim no.159)

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “The sun is like flowing water, running in its course in the sky during the day. When it sets, it travels in its course beneath the earth until it rises in the east.” He said, “The same is true in the case of the moon.” Its chain of narration is Sahih. “and that Allah is All-Aware of what you do.” This is like the Ayah, “Know you not that Allah knows all that is in the heaven and the earth” (22:70). The meaning is that Allah is the Creator Who knows all things, as He says: “It is Allah Who has created seven heavens and of the earth the like thereof” (65:12). “That is because Allah, He is the Truth, and that which they invoke besides Him is falsehood” means, He shows you His Signs so that you may know from them that He is the Truth, i.e., He truly exists and is truly divine, and that all else besides Him is falsehood. He has no need of anything else, but everything else is dependent on Him, because everything in heaven and on earth is created by Him and is enslaved by Him; none of them could move even an atom’s weight except with His permission. If all the people of heaven and earth were to come together to create a fly, they would not be able to do so. Allah says: “That is because Allah, He is the Truth, and that which they invoke besides Him is falsehood; and that Allah, He is the Most High, the Most Great.” meaning, He is the Most High and there is none higher than Him, and He is the Most Great Who is greater than everything. Everything is subjugated and insignificant in comparison to Him.

{31. See you not that the ships sail through the sea by Allah’s grace that He may show you of His signs Verily, in this are signs for every patient, grateful (person).

32. And when waves cover them like shades, they invoke Allah, making their invocations for Him only. But when He brings them safe to land, there are among them those that stop in between. And Our Ayat are not denied except by every Khattar Kafur.}

Allah tells us that He is the One Who has subjugated the sea so that ships may sail on it by His command, i.e. by His grace and power. For if He did not give the water the strength to carry the ships, they would not sail. So he says: “that He may show you of His signs” meaning, by His power. “Verily, in this are signs for every patient, grateful.” means, every person who bears difficulty with patience and who gives thanks at times of ease. Then Allah says: “And when waves cover them like shades,” meaning, like mountains or clouds, “they invoke Allah, making their invocations for Him only.” This is like the Ayah, “And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon vanish from you except Him” (17:67). “And when they embark on a ship…” (29:65) Then Allah says: “But when He brings them safe to land, there are among them those that stop in between.” Mujahid said, “This refers to the disbelievers – as if he interpreted the word Muqtasid to mean denier (At-Tabari 20:157) as in the Ayah, “but when He brings them safely to land, behold, they give a share of their worship to others” (29:65). “And Our Ayat are not denied except by every Khattar Kafur.” Khattar means one who betrays or stabs in the back. This was the view of Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and Malik, narrating from Zayd bin Aslam. (At-Tabari 20:157) This word describes a person who, whenever he makes a promise, breaks his promise, and it refers to the worst form of treachery. (Kafur) means, one who denies blessings and does not give thanks for them, rather he forgets them and does not remember them.

{33. O mankind! Have Taqwa of your Lord, and fear a Day when no father can avail aught for his son, nor a son avail aught for his father. Verily, the promise of Allah is true, let not then this present life deceive you, nor let the chief deceiver deceive you about Allah.}

The Command to fear Allah and remember the Day of Resurrection

Here Allah warns people about the Day of Resurrection, and commands them to fear Him and remember the Day of Resurrection when “no father can avail aught for his son,” which means, even if he wanted to offer himself as a sacrifice for his son, it would not be accepted from him. The same will apply in the case of a son who wants to sacrifice himself for his father – it will not be accepted from him. Then Allah reminds them once again with the words: “let not then this present life deceive you,” meaning, do not let your feelings of contentment with this life make you forget about the Hereafter. “nor let the chief deceiver deceive you about Allah.” refers to the Shaytan. This was the view of Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah. (At-Tabari 20:159) The Shaytan makes promises to them and arouses in them false desires, but there is no substance to them, as Allah says: “He makes promises to them, and arouses in them false desires; and Shaytan’s promises are nothing but deceptions.” (4:120). Wahb bin Munabbih said: Uzayr, peace be upon him, said: “When I saw the misfortune of my people, I felt very sad and distressed, and I could not sleep, so I prayed to my Lord and fasted, and I called upon Him weeping. There came to me an angel and I said to him: ‘Tell me, will the souls of the righteous intercede for the wrongdoers, or the fathers for their sons’ He said: ‘On the Day of Resurrection all matters will be settled, and Allah’s dominion will be made manifest and no exceptions will be made. No one will speak on that Day except with the permission of the Most Merciful. No father will answer for his son, or any son for his father, or any man for his brother, or any servant for his master. No one will care about anybody except himself, or feel grief or compassion for anyone except himself. Everyone will be worried only about himself. No one will be asked about anybody else. Each person will be concerned only about himself, weeping for himself and carrying his own burden. No one will carry the burden of another.”’ This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim.

{34. Verily, Allah, with Him is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, All-Aware.}

The Knower of the Unseen is Allah

These are the keys of the Unseen, whose knowledge Allah alone has kept for Himself, and no one else knows them unless Allah tells him about them. The knowledge of ‘when the Hour will occur’ is not known to any Prophet who was sent or any angel who is close to Allah. “None can reveal its time but He” (7:187). Similarly, no one but Allah knows when rain will fall, but when He issues the commands, the angels who are entrusted with the task of bringing rain know about it, as do those among His creation whom He wills should know. No one but He knows what is in the wombs of what He wants to create, but when He decrees whether it is to be male or female, and whether it is to be blessed or doomed, the angels who are entrusted with that know about it, as do those among His creation whom He wills should know. No one knows what he will earn tomorrow with regard to this world or the Hereafter. “and no person knows in what land he will die.” in his own land or elsewhere, in some other land. No one knows this. This Ayah is like the Ayah, “And with Him are the keys of the Unseen, none knows them but He.” (6:59)

It was reported in the Sunnah that the above five things are called the Keys of the Unseen. Imam Ahmad recorded that Buraydah said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him say:

“There are five things which no one knows except Allah: “Verily, Allah, with Him is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, All-Aware.” (Ahmad 5:353) The chain of narrators for this Hadith is Sahih, although they did not recorded it.

The Hadith of Ibn Umar

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Umar said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“The Keys of the Unseen are five, which no one knows except Allah: “Verily, Allah, with Him is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, All-Aware.” (Ahmad 2:24)

This was recorded only by Al-Bukhari, which he narrated in the Book of the Rain Prayer in his Sahih. (Fath Al-Bari 2:609) He also recorded it in his Tafsir with a different chain of narrators, stating that Abdullah bin Umar said, “The Prophet said:

“The Keys of the Unseen are five.”

Then he recited: “Verily, Allah, with Him is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:373) This too was recorded only by Al-Bukhari.

The Hadith of Abu Hurayrah

In his Tafsir of this Ayah, Al-Bukhari narrated from Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was standing before the people one day when a man came to him and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is Iman?’ He said:

“Iman is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers and in the meeting with Him, and to believe in the Resurrection in the Hereafter.”

He said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is Islam?’ He said:

“Islam is to worship Allah Alone and not associate anything in worship with Him, to establish regular prayer, to pay the obligatory Zakah, and to fast in Ramadan.”

He said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is Ihsan?’ He said:

“Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you do not see Him, then He sees you.”

He said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, when will the Hour come?’ He said:

“The one who is asked about it does not know more than the one who is asking, but I will tell you of some of its signs: when the servant woman gives birth to her mistress, that is one of its signs; when the barefoot and naked become leaders of the people, that is one of its signs. The timing of the Hour is one of the five things which no one knows except Allah: “Verily, Allah, with Him is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs…”

Then the man went away, and the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

“Bring him back to me.”

They went to bring him back, but they could not find him. He said:

“That was Jibril who came to teach the people their religion.” (Fath A-Bari 8:373)

It was also recorded by Al-Bukhari in the Book of Faith, and by Muslim with several chains of narration. (Fath Al-Bari 1:140, Muslim 1:39) We have discussed this at the beginning of our commentary on Al-Bukhari, where we mentioned at length some Hadiths narrated by the Commander of the faithful Umar bin Al-Khattab. These were recorded only by Muslim. “and no person knows in what land he will die.” Qatadah said, “There are some things which Allah has kept to Himself, and they are not known to any angel who is close to Him or any Prophet who was sent by Him. “Verily, Allah, with Him is the knowledge of the Hour,” no one among mankind knows when the Hour will come, in which year or month, or whether it will come at night or during the day. “He sends down the rain,” and no one knows when rain will come, night or day. “and knows that which is in the wombs.” No one knows what is in the wombs, male or female, red or black, or what it is. “No person knows what he will earn tomorrow,” whether it will be good or bad. You do not know, O son of Adam, when you will die. You might die tomorrow, you might be stricken by calamity tomorrow. “and no person knows in what land he will die.” means, no person knows where his resting place will be, on the land or in the sea, on a plain or in the mountains. (At-Tabari 20:160) It says in the Hadith:

“If Allah wants to take a person’s soul in a particular land, He will give him a reason to go there.” (Al-Hakim 1:42)

In Al-Mujam Al-Kabir, Al-Hafiz Abu Al-Qasim At-Tabarani recorded that Usamah bin Zayd said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Allah does not will that a person should die in a certain land but He gives him a reason to go there.” (At-Tabarani 1:178)

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surah Luqman.

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.

Sufficient for us is Allah and He is the Best Disposer of affairs.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 569-603

 

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Surah Ar-Rum Ayat 30-60 (end)

{30. So, set you your face towards the religion as a Hanif. Allah’s Fitrah with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Allah’s Khalq, that is the straight religion, but most men know not.

31. (And remain always) turning in repentance to Him and have Taqwa of Him; and perform the Salah and be not of idolators.

32. Of those who split up their religion, and became sects, each sect rejoicing in that which is with it.}

The Command to adhere to Tawhid

Allah says: ‘so set your face and persevere in the religion which Allah has prescribed for you, the worship of Allah Alone, the religion of Ibrahim, to which Allah has guided you and which He has perfected for you with the utmost perfection. In this manner, you will also adhere to the sound Fitrah with which He created His creation.’ Allah created His creation to recognize Him and know His Tawhid, and that there is no God except Him, as we have already seen when discussing the Ayah, “and made them testify as to themselves (saying): “Am I not your Lord” They said: “Yes!…” (7:172). And according to a Hadith, Allah said, “I created my servants Hunafa (i.e., monotheists), then the Shayatin misled them from their religion.” (Muslim 4:2197) We will see in the Hadiths that Allah created His creation with the Fitrah of Islam, then among some of them there emerged corrupt religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism. “No change let there be in Allah’s Khalq,” Some of them said that this means, `do not change the creation of Allah, for if you do, you will divert the people away from the Fitrah with which He created them.’ So it is instructive; just as His saying: “And whoever enters it, he is safe” This is a good and correct interpretation. Others said that this means, Allah made all of His creation equal, all of them have the same sound Fitrah and are by nature upright; they are all born with this nature and there is no disparity among people in this regard. Ibn Abbas, Ibrahim An-Nakhai, Said bin Jubayr, Mujahid, Ikrimah, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and Ibn Zayd said that the Ayah: “No change let there be in Allah’s Khalq” means, the religion of Allah. (At-Tabari 20:99)

Al-Bukhari said: “No change let there be in Allah’s Khalq,” “It means, the religion of Allah, and the religion, and the Fitrah is Islam.” Then he reported that Abu Hurayrah said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“No child is born except in a state of Fitrah, then his parents make him a Jew or a Christian or a Zoroastrian, just as each animal produces a perfect animal like itself – do you see any among them that are born mutilated?”

then the narrator (Abu Hurayrah) said “recite this Ayah”, “Allah’s Fitrah with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Allah’s Khalq, that is the straight religion.” This was also recorded by Muslim. (Fath Al-Bari 8:372, Muslim 4:2047)

“that is the straight religion,” means, adherence to the Shariah and the sound Fitrah is the true, straight religion. “but most men know not.” means, most people do not know this and they deviate far astray from it, as Allah says: “And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly.” (12:103) “And if you obey most of those on the earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s path” (6:116). “turning in repentance to Him” Ibn Zayd and Ibn Jurayj said, “This means, returning to Him.” (At-Tabari 20:100) “and have Taqwa of Him” means, fear Him and remember that He is always watching. “and perform the Salah”, which is the greatest act of worship. “and be not of the idolators.” Be of those who single out Allah, devoting their worship sincerely for Him alone, not anyone or anything other than Him. Ibn Jarir recorded that Yazid bin Abi Maryam said: “Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, passed by Muadh bin Jabal and asked, ‘What is the foundation of this Ummah?’ Muadh said, ‘Three things, and they are the things that will bring salvation: Al-Ikhlas (doing a deed for Allah alone), which is the Fitrah with which Allah created mankind; Salah, which is the thing that tells a believer apart from a disbeliever; and obedience, which is protection.’ Umar said: `You have spoken the truth. (At-Tabari 20:98)

His saying: “Of those who Farraqu Dinahum (split up their religion), and became sects, each sect rejoicing in that which is with it.” means, do not be of the idolators who split up their religion, i.e., changed it by believing in parts of it and rejecting other parts. Some scholars read this as Faraqu Dinahum, meaning “neglected their religion and left it behind them.” These are like the Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, idol worshippers and all the followers of false religions, besides the followers of Islam, as Allah says: “Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you have no concern in them in the least. Their affair is only with Allah” (6:159). The followers of the religions before us had differences of opinions and split into false sects, each group claiming to be following the truth. This Ummah too has split into sects, all of which are misguided apart from one, which is Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaah, those who adhere to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah and what was followed by the first generations, the Companions, their followers, and the Imams of the Muslims of earlier and later times. In his Mustadrak, Al-Hakim recorded that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was asked which of the sects was the saved sect and he said:

“What I and my Companions are upon.” (Al-Hakim 1:129)

{33. And when harm touches men, they cry sincerely only to their Lord, turning to Him in repentance; but when He gives them a taste of His mercy, behold, a party of them associates partners in worship with their Lord.

34. So as to be ungrateful for the graces which We have bestowed on them. Then enjoy; but you will come to know.

35. Or have We revealed to them an authority, which speaks of that which they have been associating with Him?

36. And when We cause mankind to taste of mercy, they rejoice therein; but when some evil afflicts them because of what their hands have sent forth, behold, they are in despair!

37. Do they not see that Allah expands the provision for whom He wills and straitens (it for whom He wills). Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who believe.}

 

How man sways between Tawhid and Shirk, and between Joy and Despair, according to His Circumstances

Allah tells us that when man is in dire straits, he calls upon Allah alone with no partner or associate, then when times of ease come and they have the choice, some people associate others with Allah and worship others alongside Him. “So as to be ungrateful for the graces which We have bestowed on them.” Then Allah warns them by saying: “but you will come to know.” 

Then Allah denounces the idolators for fabricating lies and worshipping others instead of Him with no evidence or proof: “Or have We revealed to them an authority,” means, proof, “which speaks” means, tells “of that which they have been associating with Him” This is a rhetorical question intended to denounce them, for they have no such thing. “And when We cause mankind to taste of mercy, they rejoice therein; but when some evil afflicts them because of what their hands have sent forth, behold, they are in despair!” This is a denunciation of man for the way he is, except for those whom Allah protects and helps, for when man is given blessings, he is proud, and says: “Ills have departed from me.” Surely, he is exultant, and boastful.” (11:10) He rejoices over himself and boasts to others, but when difficulties befall him, He despairs of ever having anything good again. Allah says: “Except those who show patience and do righteous good deeds”. They are patient during times of difficulty and do good deeds at times of ease. It was reported in the Sahih: “How wonderful is the affair of the believer. Allah does not decree anything for him but it is good for him. If good things happen to him, he gives thanks, and that is good for him; and if bad things happen to him, he bears that with patience, and that is good for him.”  (Muslim 4:2295) “Do they not see that Allah expands the provision for whom He wills and straitens (it for whom He wills).” He is the One Who is controlling and doing that, by His wisdom and justice, so He expands the provision for some people and restricts it for some. “Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who believe.”

{38. So, give to the kindred his due, and to Al-Miskin and to the wayfarer. That is best for those who seek Allah’s Face; and it is they who will be successful.

39. And that which you give in Riba in order that it may increase from other people’s property, has no increase with Allah; but that which you give in Zakah seeking Allah’s Face, then those they shall have manifold increase.

40. Allah is He Who created you, then provided food for you, then will cause you to die, then He will give you life. Is there any of your partners that do anything of that Glory be to Him! And Exalted be He above all that they associate.}

 

The Command to uphold the Ties of Kinship and the Prohibition of Riba

Allah commands giving: “to the kindred his due” his due of respect and upholding the ties of kinship. “and to Al-Miskin” the one who has nothing to spend on his needs, or he has something but it is not enough. “and to the wayfarer.” the traveler who is in need of money and other things during his journey. “That is best for those who seek Allah’s Face” meaning; to look upon Him on the Day of Resurrection, which is the ultimate aim. “and it is they who will be successful.” means, in this world and the Hereafter. Then Allah says: “And that which you give in Riba, in order that it may increase from other people’s property, has no increase with Allah” This means, that which is given as a gift to others in the hope that they will give back more than they were given. There is no reward for this with Allah. This is how this Ayah was interpreted by Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Ikrimah, Muhammad bin Kab and Ash-Shabi. (At-Tabari 20:104) Allah says: “but that which you give in Zakah seeking Allah’s Face, then those they shall have manifold increase.” Those are the ones for whom Allah will multiply the reward. It was reported in the Sahih:

“No person gives in charity the equivalent of a date which was earned in a lawful manner, but the Most Merciful takes it in His Right Hand and takes care of it for its owner, just as any one of you takes care of his foal or young camel, until the date becomes the size of Mount Uhud.” (Muslim 2:702)

Creation, Provision, Life and Death are all in the Hand of Allah

Allah says: “Allah is He Who created you, then provided food for you,” means, He is the Creator and Provider. He brings man forth from his mother’s womb naked and knowing nothing, not able to see or hear, and having no strength. Then He provides him with all these things, giving him household effects, clothing, wealth, possessions and earnings. “then will cause you to die,” means, after this life. “then (again) He will give you life.” means, on the Day of Resurrection. “Is there any of your partners?” means, those whom you worship instead of Allah, “that do anything of that” meaning, none of them are able to do any of that. But Allah is the One Who is Independent in His powers of creation, provision, and giving life and death. Then He will resurrect His creation on the Day of Resurrection. This is why, after all this He says: “Glory be to Him! And Exalted be He above all that they associate.” meaning, exalted and sanctified and glorified be He far above having any partner, peer, equal, son or father, for He is the One, the Unique, the Self-Sufficient Master, Who begets not nor was He begotten, and there is none comparable unto Him.

{41. Evil has appeared in Al-Barr and Al-Bahr because of what the hands of men have earned, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return.

42. Say: “Travel in the land and see what was the end of those before (you)! Most of them were idolators.”}

The Effects of Sin in this World

Ibn Abbas, Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak, As-Suddi and others said: “What is meant by Al-Barr here is the empty land or wilderness, and by Al-Bahr is towns and cities.” (At-Tabari 20:108) According to a report narrated from Ibn Abbas and Ikrimah, Al-Bahr refers to towns and cities which are on the banks of rivers. (At-Tabari 20:108) Others said that what was meant was the usual meaning of the words, i.e., land and sea. Zayd bin Rafi said: “Evil has appeared” “The rain is withheld from the land and this is followed by famine, and it is withheld from the sea, adversely affecting the animals which live in it.” This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim, who said: “Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Yazid Al-Muqri’ told us, from Sufyan from Humayd bin Qays Al-A`raj from Mujahid: “Evil has appeared on land and sea” “Evil on land means the killing of the son of Adam, and evil on the sea means piracy.”

According to the first opinion, the phrase, “Evil has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned,” means the shortfall in the crops and fruits is because of sins. Abu Al-Aliyah said: “Whoever disobeys Allah in the earth has corrupted it, because the good condition of the earth and the heavens depends on obedience to Allah.” Hence it says in the Hadith which was recorded by Abu Dawud: “Any prescribed punishment which is carried out in the land is better for its people than if it were to rain for forty days.” (An-Nasai 8:75) The reason for that is that if the prescribed punishments are carried out, this will deter the people – most or many of them – from violating the prohibitions of Allah. If they give up sin, this will be a cause of blessings in the skies and on the earth. So, when Isa bin Maryam, peace be upon him, comes down at the end of time, he will judge according to this Shariah at that time, and will kill the pigs and break the cross and abolish the Jizyah. He will accept nothing except Islam or the sword. When Allah destroys the Dajjal and his followers, and Ya’juj and Ma’juj during his time, it will be said to the earth, bring forth your blessing. Then groups of people will eat from one pomegranate, and will seek shade beneath its skin, and the milk of one pregnant camel will be sufficient for a group of people. This will only be because of the blessings that will result from application of the Shariah of Muhammad, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him. The more justice is established, the more the blessings and good things will increase.  “that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done,” means, He tries them with the loss of wealth, souls and fruits as a test and as a punishment for what they have done. “in order that they may return.” means, from disobedience. This is like the Ayah, “And We tried them with good and evil in order that they might turn.” (7:168). Then Allah says: “Say: “Travel in the land and see what was the end of those before (you)!” meaning, those who came before you. “Most of them were idolators.” means, so see what happened to them when they rejected the Messengers and were ungrateful for the blessings.

{43. So, set you your face to the straight and right religion, before there comes from Allah a Day which none can avert. On that Day men shall be divided.

44. Whosoever disbelieves will suffer from his disbelief, and whosoever does righteous good deeds, then such will prepare a good place for themselves.

45. That He may reward those who believe and do righteous good deeds, out of His bounty. Verily, He likes not the disbelievers.}

The Command to follow the Straight Path before the Day of Resurrection

Here Allah commands His servants to hasten to obedience to Him and to hasten to do good deeds. “So, set you your face to the straight and right religion, before there comes from Allah a Day which none can avert.” The Day of Resurrection, for when Allah wants it to happen, no one will be able to avert it. “On that Day men shall be divided.” means, they will be separated, with one group in Paradise and another in Hell. Allah says: “Whosoever disbelieves will suffer from his disbelief, and whosoever does righteous good deeds, then such will prepare a good place for themselves. That He may reward those who believe. and do righteous good deeds, out of His bounty.” meaning that He may reward them from His bounty, in return for one good deed, he will get the reward for ten, up to seven hundred like it, as much as Allah wills. “Verily, He likes not the disbelievers.” yet He is still just with them and does not oppress them.

{46. And among His signs is this that He sends the winds as glad tidings, giving you a taste of His mercy, and that the ships may sail at His command, and that you may seek of His bounty, in order that you may be thankful.

47. And indeed We did send Messengers before you to their own peoples. They came to them with clear proofs, then, We took vengeance on those who committed crimes; and it was incumbent upon Us to help the believers.}

Among the Signs of Allah are the Winds

Here Allah mentions the favor He does for His creatures by sending winds to them, as harbingers of His mercy, meaning that they will be followed by rain. Allah says: “giving you a taste of His mercy,” that is, the rain which will come down and revive people and the land. “and that the ships may sail at His command,” means, on the sea, for they are driven by the wind. “and that you may seek of His bounty,” means, by trading, earning a living and traveling from one country to another, one region to another. “in order that you may be thankful.” means, that you may give thanks to Allah for the innumerable favors He has done for you, both visible and hidden. Then Allah says: “And indeed We did send Messengers before you to their own peoples. They came to them with clear proofs, then, We took vengeance on those who committed crimes” These are words of consolation from Allah to His servant and Messenger Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. They tell him that if many of his people and of mankind disbelieve in him, the previous Messengers were also rejected, despite the clear signs that they brought, but Allah punished those who rejected and opposed them, and saved those who believed in them. “and it was incumbent upon Us to help the believers.” This is a duty which Allah took upon Himself as a blessing and a favor to them. This is like the Ayah, “your Lord has prescribed mercy for Himself” (6:54). Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I heard Allah’s Messenger saying:

“No Muslim man defends the honor of his brother except that there would be a right upon Allah to defend him from the fire of Hell on the Day of Resurrection.”

Then he recited this Ayah: “and it was incumbent upon Us to help the believers.” (Similar was recorded by Al-Bukhari, no.6512)

{48. Allah is He Who sends the winds, so that they raise clouds and spread them along the sky as He wills, and then break them into fragments until you see rain drops come forth from their midst! Then when He has made them fall on whom of His servants as He wills, lo, they rejoice!

49. And verily, before that – just before it was sent down upon them – they were in despair!

50. Look then at the effects of Allah’s mercy, how He revives the earth after its death. Verily, that shall indeed raise the dead, and He is able to do all things.

51. And if We send a wind, and they see it turn yellow – behold, they then would become unthankful (disbelievers).}

The Revival of the Earth is a Sign of the Resurrection

Here Allah explains how He creates the clouds that rain the water. “Allah is He Who sends the winds, so that they raise clouds” either from the sea, as was mentioned by more than one (of the scholars), or from whatever Allah wills. “and spread them along the sky as He wills,” means, He spreads them and causes them to increase and grow. From a little He makes a lot, and creates the clouds that look like shields. Then He spreads them out until they fill the horizon. Sometimes the clouds come from the sea, heavy and full, as Allah says: “And it is He Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy. Till when they have carried a heavy-laden cloud, We drive it to a land that is dead” until: “Similarly, We shall raise up the dead, so that you may remember or take heed.” (7:57) Allah says here: “Allah is He Who sends the winds, so that they raise clouds and spread them along the sky as He wills, and then break them into fragments” Mujahid, Abu Amr bin Al-Ala’, Matar Al-Warraq and Qatadah said, “This means pieces.” (At-Tabari 20:114) Others said that it means ‘piled up,’ as Ad-Dahhak said. Others said that it means black, because they contained so much water, and sometimes they are heavy and close to the earth. His saying: “until you see rain drops come forth from their midst!” means, ‘so you see the drops, i.e., the rain, which come from the midst of those clouds.’ “Then when He has made them fall on whom of His servants as He wills, lo, they rejoice!” They rejoice at the rain when it comes to them because of their need for it. “And verily, before that – just before it was sent down upon them – they were in despair!” The people to whom this rain came were in despair, thinking that it rain would never fall, just before it came to them. When it came to them, it came at the time of greatest need, so it was a tremendous event for them What this means is that they were in need of it before it fell, and there had been no rainfall for a long time, so they were waiting for it at the time when it was due, but it did not come to them at that time. The rain was late, and a long time passed. Then the rain came to them suddenly, after they began to despair, and after their land became dry and barren, it was stirred to life, and it swelled and produced every lovely kind of growth. Allah says: “Look then at the effects of Allah’s mercy,” meaning, the rain. “how He revives the earth after its death.” Thus Allah draws attention to the revival of people’s bodies after they have died and disintegrated into nothing. “Verily, that (Allah) shall indeed raise the dead.” means, the One Who does that is able to raise the dead. “and He is able to do all things.” “And if We send a wind, and they see it turn yellow — behold, they then would become unthankful (disbelievers).” “And if We send a wind,” means, a wind which dries up the crops which they have tended and cultivated and which have matured, and they see them turn yellow, and start to rot, if this were to happen, they would become ungrateful, i.e., they would deny the previous blessings that they were given. This is like the Ayah, “Then tell Me about the seed that you sow in the ground.” until: “Nay, but we are deprived!” (56:63-67)

{52. So verily, you cannot make the dead to hear, nor can you make the deaf to hear the call, when they show their backs and turn away.

53. And you cannot guide the blind from their straying; you can make to hear only those who believe in Our Ayat, and have submitted (to Allah in Islam).}

The Disbelievers are like the Dead, Deaf and Blind

Allah says, ‘just as you are not able to make the dead hear in their graves, or to make your words reach the deaf who cannot hear and who still turn away from you, so too you cannot guide the blind to the truth and bring them back from their misguidance.’ That is a matter which rests with Allah, for by His power He can make the dead hear the voices of the living if He wills. He guides whom He wills and sends astray whom He wills, and no one but He has the power to do this. Allah says: “you can make to hear only those who believe in Our Ayat, and have submitted (to Allah in Islam).” means, those who are humble and who respond and obey. These are the ones who will listen to the truth and follow it; this is the state of the believers; the former (being deaf and blind) is the state of the disbelievers, as Allah says: “It is only those who listen will respond, but as for the dead, Allah will raise them up, then to Him they will be returned.” (6:36) A’ishah, the Mother of the faithful, may Allah be pleased with her, used this Ayah “So verily, you cannot make the dead to hear” as evidence against Abdullah bin Umar when he reported that the Prophet had addressed the slain disbelievers who had been thrown into a dry well three days after the battle of Badr, rebuking and reprimanding them, until Umar said, “O Messenger of Allah, are you addressing people who are dead bodies?” He said:

“By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, you do not hear what I say any better than they do, but they cannot respond.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:351)

A’ishah interpreted this event to mean that the Prophet was making the point that now they would know that what he had been telling them was true. (Fath Al-Bari 7:351)  Qatadah said: “Allah brought them back to life for him so that they could hear what he said by way of rebuke and vengeance.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:351)

{54. Allah is He Who created you in weakness, then gave you strength after weakness, then after strength gave (you) weakness and grey hair. He creates what He wills. And He is the All-Knowing, the All-Powerful.}

The Different Stages of Man

Here Allah points out how man passes through different stages of creation, one phase after another. He is originally created from dust, then from a Nutfah, then from a clot, then from a lump of flesh. Then he becomes bones, then the bones are clothed with flesh, then the soul is breathed into him. Then he emerges from his mother’s womb, weak and thin and powerless. Then he grows up little by little, until he becomes a child, then he reaches the stage of puberty, then he becomes a young man, which is strength after weakness. Then he starts to get older, reaching middle age, then old age and senility, weakness after strength, so he loses his resolve, power of movement and ability to fight, his hair turns grey and his characteristics, both inward and outward, begin to change. Allah says: “then after strength gave (you) weakness and grey hair. He creates what He wills.” He does whatsoever He wills and controls His servants in whatever way He wants. “And He is the All-Knowing, the All-Powerful.”

{55. And on the Day that the Hour will be established, the criminals will swear that they stayed not but an hour — thus were they ever deluded.

56. And those who have been bestowed with knowledge and Faith will say: “Indeed you have stayed according to the decree of Allah, until the Day of Resurrection; so this is the Day of Resurrection, but you knew not.”

57. So, on that Day no excuse of theirs will avail those who did wrong, nor will they be allowed to return to seek (Allah’s) pleasure.}

The Ignorance of the Disbelievers in this World and in the Hereafter

Here Allah tells us of the ignorance of the disbelievers in this world and in the Hereafter. In this world they worship idols, and in the Hereafter they will also display great ignorance. They will swear by Allah that they did not even stay for one hour in this world. They will mean that there was not enough time given to establish proof against them which would leave them with no excuse. Allah says: “thus were they ever deluded. And those who have been bestowed with knowledge and Faith will say: “Indeed you have stayed according to the decree of Allah, until the Day of Resurrection…’‘ The believers who have knowledge of the Hereafter will respond to them, just as they established the proof of Allah against them in this world. When they swear that they did not stay even one hour in this world, they will say to them: “Indeed you have stayed according to the decree of Allah,” meaning, the Book of deeds, “until the Day of Resurrection” means, ‘from the day when you were created until the day you were resurrected.’ “but you knew not.” Allah says: “So, on that Day” meaning, the Day of Resurrection, “no excuse of theirs will avail those who did wrong,” means, their excuses for what they did. “nor will they be allowed (then) to return to seek (Allah’s) pleasure.” means, they will not be allowed to return to this world. This is like the Ayah, “and if they seek to please (Allah), yet they are not of those who will ever be allowed to please (Allah)” (41:24).

{58. And indeed We have set forth for mankind, in this Qur’an every kind of parable. But if you bring to them any sign or proof, the disbelievers are sure to say (to the believers): “You follow nothing but falsehood and magic.”

59. Thus does Allah seal up the hearts of those who know not.

60. So be patient. Verily, the promise of Allah is true; and let not those who have no certainty of faith discourage you (from conveying Allah’s Message).}

 

Parables in the Qur’an and how the Disbelievers do not learn from them

“And indeed We have set forth for mankind, in this Qur’an every kind of parable.” means, ‘We have explained the truth to them and have made it clear to them, and have set forth for them parables so that they may understand the truth and follow it.’ “But if you bring to them any sign or proof, the disbelievers are sure to say (to the believers): “You follow nothing but falsehood and magic.” If they were to see any kind of sign, whether it was at their own direction or otherwise, they would not believe in it and they would think that it was magic and falsehood, as they said when the moon was cleft asunder, etc., as Allah says:  “Truly, those, against whom the Word of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment.” (10:96-97). Allah says here: “Thus does Allah seal up the hearts of those who know not. So be patient. Verily, the promise of Allah is true” meaning, ‘bear their stubborn opposition with patience, for Allah will fulfill His promise to grant you victory over them and cause you and those who follow you to prevail in this world and in the Hereafter.’ “and let not those who have no certainty of faith discourage you (from conveying Allah’s Message).” ‘Remain steadfast in the mission with which Allah has sent you, for it is truth in which there is no doubt. Do not turn away from it, for nowhere else is there truth which is to be followed; the truth rests exclusively in the Message with which you have been sent.’

Reports concerning the Virtues of this Surah and that it is recommended to recite it during Fajr

Imam Ahmad recorded from a man among the Companions of the Prophet that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, led them in Fajr prayer and recited Ar-Rum in the prayer, but he became confused in his recitation. He said:

“We have become confused in our recitation of Qur’an, because some people among you are praying with us but they have not performed Wudu’ properly. Whoever attends the prayer with us, let him perform Wudu’ properly.” (Ahmad 3:471)

This has a Hasan chain of narration, the text itself is Hasan. It contains amazing information, that the Prophet was affected by the faulty Wudu’ of some of those whom he was leading in prayer. This indicates that the prayer of the person who is praying in the congregation is connected to the prayer of the Imam.

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Ar-Rum. Allah’s is the praise and thanks.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 542-568

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Surah Ar-Rum Ayat 1-29

Surah Ar-Rum

(The Romans)

Chapter 30

Which was revealed in Makkah

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

 

{1. Alif Lam Mim.

2. The Romans have been defeated.

3. In the nearest land, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious.

4. In Bid’i years. The decision of the matter, before and after is only with Allah. And on that day, the believers will rejoice

5. With the help of Allah. He helps whom He wills, and He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.

6. A promise from Allah, and Allah fails not in His promise, but most men know not.

7. They know only the outer appearance of the life of the world, and they are heedless of the Hereafter.}

Foretelling the Victory of the Romans

These Ayat were revealed about the victory of Sabur, the King of Persia, over Ash-Sham (Greater Syria), the adjoining partisan states of the Arabian Peninsula, and the outlying regions of the land of the Romans. Heraclius, the emperor of the Romans, was forced to flee to Constantinople where he was besieged for a lengthy period. Then Heraclius regained the upper hand. Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, commented on this Ayah: “Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land,” He said, “They were defeated and then they were victorious.” He said, “The idolators wanted the Persians to prevail over the Romans, because they were idol worshippers, and the Muslims wanted the Romans to prevail over the Persians, because they were People of the Book. This was mentioned to Abu Bakr, who mentioned it to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The Messenger of Allah said:

“They will certainly prevail.”

Abu Bakr mentioned this to the idolators, and they said, “Set a time limit for that, and if we prevail, we will get such and such; and if you prevail, you will get such and such.” So he set a limit of five years, and they (the Romans) did not prevail. Abu Bakr mentioned that to the Messenger of Allah and he said:

“Why do you not make it less than…”

[I (the narrator) think he meant less than ten]. Said bin Jubayr said: “Bid’ means less than ten.” Then the Romans were victorious, and he said, “That is what Allah said:

“Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious. In Bid`i years. The decision of the matter, before and after is only with Allah. And on that day, the believers will rejoice – with the help of Allah. He helps whom He wills, and He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.” (Ahmad 1:276)

This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i. At-Tirmidhi said: “Hasan Gharib.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:51, An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:426)

Another Hadith

Abu Isa At-Tirmidhi recorded that Niyar bin Mukram Al-Aslami said: “When the following Ayat were revealed: “Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious. In Bid` years.” on the day they were revealed, the Persians were prevailing over the Romans. The Muslims wanted the Romans to prevail over them (the Persians), because they were both people who followed a Book. Concerning this Allah said: “And on that day, the believers will rejoice — with the help of Allah. He helps whom He wills, and He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.” The Quraysh, on the other hand, wanted the Persians to prevail, because neither of them were people who followed a Book and neither of them believed in the Resurrection. When Allah revealed these Ayat, Abu Bakr went out proclaiming throughout Makkah: “Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious. In Bid` years.” Some of the Quraysh said to Abu Bakr: ‘This is (a bet) between us and you. Your companion claims that the Romans will defeat the Persians within three to nine years, so why not have a bet on that between us and you’. Abu Bakr said, ‘Yes.’ This was before betting had been forbidden. So, Abu Bakr and the idolators made a bet, and they said to Abu Bakr: ‘What do you think, Bid means something between three and nine years, so let us agree on the middle.’ So they agreed on six years. Then six years passed without the Romans being victorious, so the idolators took what they had bet with Abu Bakr. When the seventh year came and the Romans were finally victorious over the Persians, the Muslims rebuked Abu Bakr for agreeing on six years. He said: ‘Because Allah said: “In Bid years.”’ At that time, many people became Muslim.” This is how it was narrated by At-Tirmidhi, then he said, “This is a Hasan Hadith.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:52)

Who were the Romans? 
“Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated.” We have already discussed the separate letters which appear at the beginning of some Surahs in the beginning of our Tafsir of Surat Al-Baqarah. With regard to the Romans (Ar-Rum), they are the descendents of Al-Iys bin Ishaq bin Ibrahim. They are the cousins of the Children of Isra’il, and are also known as Bani Al-Asfar. They used to followed the religion of the Greeks, who were descendents of Yafith bin Nuh, the cousins of the Turks. They used to worship the seven planets, and they prayed facing the direction of the North Pole. It is they who founded Damascus and built its temple in which there is a prayer niche facing north. The Romans followed this religion until approximately three hundred years after the time of the Messiah. The king who ruled Greater Syria along with the Fertile Crescent (semicircle of fertile land from Syrian Desert to Persian Gulf) was called Caesar. The first of them to enter the Christian religion was Constantine the son of Costas, whose mother was Maryam Al-Hilaniyyah Ash-Shadqaniyyah, from the land of Harran. She had become Christian before him, and she invited him to her religion. Before that he had been a philosopher, then he followed her. It was said that this was merely an outward show of belief. Then the Christians met with him. During his time they debated with Abdullah bin Ariyus (Arius) and great differences arose which could not be reconciled. Then a gathering of three hundred and eighteen bishops reached an agreement, and presented their creed to Constantine. This is what they call the Great Trust, but in fact it is the Worst Betrayal. They presented to him their laws, i.e., books of rulings on what was lawful and prohibited, and other things that they needed. They changed the religion of the Messiah (peace be upon him), adding some things and taking some things away. They began praying towards the East, and changed the Sabbath (Saturday) rites to Sunday. They worshipped the cross, permitted eating of pigs, adopted innovated observances such as the festival of the cross, Mass, baptism, etc., Palm Sunday and other occasions. They appointed a pope, as their leader, and patriarchs, metropolitans, bishops, priests and deacons, and they invented monasticism. The king built churches and places of worship for them, and he founded the city which is named after him, Constantinople. It was said that during his time twelve thousand churches were built, three places of prayer in Bethlehem, and that his mother built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. These are the ones who followed the religion of the kings.
Then after them came the Jacobites, followers of Yaqub Al-Askaf, then the Nestorians, the followers of Nestorius. There are many groups and sects among them, as the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “They split into seventy two sects.” The point here is that they continued to follow Christianity. Every time one Caesar died, another succeeded him, until the last of them, Heraclius, came to power. He was a wise man, one of the most astute and intelligent of kings, who had deep insight and well-formed opinions. His was a great and glorious reign. He was opposed by Chosroes, the King of Persia and of regions such as Iraq, Khurasan, Ar-Riy and all the lands of the Persians. His name was Sabur Dhul-Aktaf, and his kingdom was greater than the kingdom of Caesar. He was the leader of the Persians and was as stubborn as the Persians who were Zoroastrian fire worshippers.
How Caesar defeated Chosroes (Kisra)

It was previously reported that Ikrimah said: “Chosroes sent his deputy and his army against Caesar, and they fought.” It is well-known that Chosroes himself fought in the army that invaded his land, and he defeated Caesar and overwhelmed him until he had nothing left except the city of Constantinople, where Chosroes besieged him for a long time, until things became very difficult for him. He was highly venerated among the Christians, and Chosroes was not able to conquer the city because it was well fortified, and half of it faced the land while the other half faced the sea, from where supplies were able to reach them. After this had gone on for a long time, Caesar thought of a clever trick. He asked Chosroes to let him leave his city in return for money given as a peace-offering, on whatever terms he (Chosroes) wanted. Chosroes agreed to that and asked for a huge amount of wealth – gold, jewels, fabric, servant-women, servants, and much more – such that no king on earth could ever pay. Caesar went along with that and gave him the impression that he had all that he had asked for, although he thought he was crazy for asking for such a thing, because even if the two of them were to combine all of their wealth, it would not amount to even one-tenth of that. He asked Chosroes to let him go out of the city to Ash-Sham and the other regions of his kingdom, so that he could gather that from his storehouses and places where his wealth was buried. Chosroes let him go, and when Caesar was about to leave Constantinople, he gathered his people together and told them: “I am going out on a mission I have decided to do so with some soldiers I have selected from my army; if I come back to you before one year passes, I will still be your king but if I do not come back after that, you will have the choice. Then, if you wish, you may remain loyal to me, or if you wish you may appoint someone instead of me.They replied, “You are our king for as long as you live, even if you are gone in ten years.”

When he left Constantinople, a cavalry detachment left with him, and Chosroes camped outside Constantinople to await his return. Caesar went straight away to the land of the Persians, where he started to kill all the men of fighting age, one by one, and he did not stop killing until he reached Al-Madain, which was the seat of power of the kingdom of Chosroes. He killed everyone in the city, and took all its treasures and wealth. He captured the women of Chosroes, shaved his son’s head and made him ride on his donkey, sending him with the leaders of his people in a state of utmost humiliation. He wrote to Choseroes saying, ‘This is what you asked for, so take it.’ When this reached Chosroes, he was extremely distressed, to an extent known only by Allah. His anger was directed against the city of Constantinople and he renewed his siege with increased vehemence, but he was not able to besiege it for long, nor was he able to go to the ford of the river Jayhun, which was the only route through which Caesar could reach Constantinople. When Caesar heard of this, he came up with an unprecedented strategy, whereby he left his troops and good by the ford, and went off with some of his army. He commanded them to pick up some straw and animal droppings, and to travel approximately one day upstream. The he told them to throw these things into the water. When they passed by Chosroes, he and his soldiers thought that the Romans had gone that way, so they rode off in pursuit of them, and the ford was no longer occupied by the Persians. The Caesar commanded his men to get up and jump into the river which they did, thus escaping Chosroes and his troops, then they entered Constantinople.

That was great day for the Christians. Chosroes and his army remained in a state of confusion, not knowing what they were doing. They had not been able to conquer the land of Caesar, and their own land was devastated by the Romans, who seized their wealth, and captured their women and children. This was how the Romans defeated the Persians, and this happened nine years after the Persians defeated the Romans. This conflict between the Persians and the Romans prevailed between Adhurat (Ash-Sham) and Busra, according to what was stated by Ibn Abbas, Ikrimah and others. This is a place on the edge of Ash-Sham, along the border with Al-Hijaz. Mujahid said, “That was place in the Arabian Peninsula, which is closer to the land of the Romans that Persia.” Allah knows best.

“The decision of the matter, before and after is only with Allah.” before that and after that. “And on that day, the believers will rejoice – with the help of Allah.” They will rejoice because the Romans, the companions of Caesar, the king of Ash-Sham, defeated the Persians, the companions of Choseroes, who were Zoroastrians. According to many of the scholars, such as Ibn Abbas, Ath-Thawri, As-Suddi and others, the victory of the Romans over the Persians happened on the same day as the battle of Badr. It was reported in the hadith recorded by At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim and Al-Bazzar that Abu Said said: “On the day of Badr, the Romans defeated the Persians, and the believers were happy and rejoiced about that. And Allah revealed the words: “And on that day, the believers will rejoice – with the help of Allah. He helps whom he wills, and He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:50, At-Tabari 20:73)

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Az-Zubayr Al-Kilabi said, “I saw the victory of the Persians over the Romans, then I saw the victory of the Muslims over both the Persian and the Romans, and all of that happened within fifteen years.”

Allah’s saying: “and He is the All-Mighty,” means, in His defeat of vengeance upon His enemies. His saying: “the Most Merciful.” means, towards His believing servants. “(It is) a promise of Allah, and Allah fails not in His promise.” means, ‘this that We have told you, O Muhammad, that the Romans will defeat the Persians, is a true promise of Allah, truth which cannot be changed and which will surely come to pass, because Allah has decreed that the one of the two parties that is closer to the truth will prevail and that victory will be theirs.’ “but most men know not.” means, they do not know the decree of Allah concerning His creation, but what He does is wise and is based on justice. His saying: “They know only the outer appearance of the life of the world, and they are heedless of the Hereafter.” means most people know only about this world and how to make a living and so on. They are clever when it comes to getting what they need and earning a living, but they are heedless of that which will benefit them in the Hereafter; they are unaware of it and have no idea about it.

Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “It has reached the state that in this world one of them could put a Dirham on his finger and tell how much it weighs, but he does not know how to pray properly.” “they know only the outer appearance of the life of the world, and they are heedless of the Hereafter.” Ibn Abbas said, “This means that the disbelievers know how to prosper in this world, but they are ignorant of matters of religion. (At-Tabari 20:76)

{8. Do they not reflect on themselves? Allah has created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, except with truth and for an appointed term. And indeed many of mankind deny meeting with their Lord.

9. Do they not travel in the land, and see what was the end of those before them? They were superior to them in strength, and they tilled the earth and populated it in greater numbers than these have done, and there came to them their Messengers with clear proofs. Surely, Allah wronged them not, but they used to wrong themselves.

10. Then evil was the end of those who did evil, because they denied the Ayat of Allah and made a mockery of them.}

Signs of Tawhid

Allah tells us that pondering His creation will show that He exists and that He is Unique in creating it, and that there is no god nor lord besides Him. So He says: “Do they not reflect upon themselves?”  Thinking and pondering how Allah created various things in the upper and lower realms and in the space between, realizing that this was not created in jest or in vain, but in truth, and that it will continue until an appointed time, the Day of Resurrection, as Allah says: “And indeed many of mankind deny meeting with their Lord.” Then Allah tells us of the truth of the Message brought by the Messengers and how He supported them with miracles and clear signs, such as when He destroyed those who disbelieved in them and saved those who believed in them. “Do they not travel in the land?” means, ‘do they not understand and think and see and hear about the people of the past?’ Allah says: “and see what was the end of those before them They were superior to them in strength,” meaning, ‘the nations of the past who came before you were stronger than you to whom Muhammad has been sent; they had more wealth and more sons. You have not been given one-tenth of what they were given. They stayed longer in this world than you will stay. They were more civilized than you and were more prosperous in the land than you.’

Yet despite all that, when their Messengers came to them with clear signs, while they were enjoying their life of luxury, Allah punished them for their sins and they had no one who could protect them from Allah. Their wealth and sons could not protect them from the wrath of Allah in the slightest, and Allah was not at all unjust towards them when He sent His punishment upon them. “but they used to wrong themselves.” They brought destruction upon themselves, when they rejected and mocked the signs of Allah. All of this only happened because of their previous sins and their rejection (of the Messengers). Allah says:

{10. Then evil was the end of those who did evil, because they denied the Ayat of Allah and made a mockery of them.}

This is like the Ayat: “And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away, as they refused to believe therein for the first time, and We shall leave them in their trespass to wander blindly.” (6:110), “So when they turned away, Allah turned their hearts away.” (61:5), “And if they turn away, then know that Allah’s will is to punish them for some sins of theirs” (5:49). It was said that the meaning of the phrase “Then evil was the end of those who did evil,” is that evil was their inevitable end, because they rejected the signs of Allah and made fun of them. This is the view of Ibn Jarir, which he recorded from Ibn Abbas and Qatadah. (At-Tabari 20:79)

Ibn Abi Hatim also recorded it from them and from Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim. This is the apparent meaning – and Allah knows best – of the phrase: “and made a mockery of them.”

{11. Allah originates the creation, then He will repeat it, then to Him you will be returned.

12. And on the Day when the Hour will be established, the criminals will be plunged into destruction with despair.

13. No intercessors will they have from those whom they made equal with Allah, and they will reject and deny their partners.

14. And on the Day when the Hour will be established – that Day shall they be separated.

15. Then as for those who believed and did righteous good deeds, such shall be honored and made to enjoy a luxurious life in a Garden of Delight.

16. And as for those who disbelieved and denied Our Ayat, and the meeting of the Hereafter, such shall be brought forth to the torment.}

Allah said: “Allah originates the creation, then He will repeat it,” Just as He was able to create it in the first place, so He is also able to repeat it. “then to Him you will be returned.” on the Day of Resurrection, when each will be requited according to his deeds. Then Allah says: “And on the Day when the Hour will be established, the criminals will be plunged into destruction with despair.” Ibn Abbas said, “The sinners will be filled with despair.” Mujahid said, “The sinners will be exposed;” according to another report he said, “The sinners will grieve.” (At-Tabari 20:80) “No intercessors will they have from those whom they made equal with Allah,” means, the gods whom they used to worship instead of Allah will not intercede for them; they will reject them and betray them despite their desperate need of them. Then Allah says: “And on the Day when the Hour will be established — that Day shall (all men) be separated.” Qatadah said: “By Allah, this refers to the separation after which there will be no reunion.” (At-Tabari 20:81) In other words, if one person is taken up to the highest heights and another is sent down to the lowest depths of Hell, that is the last they will ever see of one another. Allah says: “Then as for those who believed and did righteous good deeds, such shall be honored and made to enjoy a luxurious life in a Garden of Delight.” Mujahid and Qatadah said, “This means, they will enjoy a life of luxury.” (At-Tabari 20:82)

 

{17. So glorify Allah, when you enter the evening, and when you enter the morning.

18. And His is all the praise in the heavens and the earth; and in Ashiyya and when Tuzhirun.

19. He brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living. And He revives the earth after its death. And thus shall you be brought out.}

The Command to Pray Five Times Daily

Here Allah glorifies Himself and commands His servants to glorify and praise Him at these times which come one after the other and are indicative of His might and power in the heavens. This is when the night comes with its darkness, then in the morning the day comes with its light. This glorification is followed by befitting praise, as Allah says: “and in Ashiyya and when Tuzhirun.” – the Ashiyy is the time when the darkness is most intense, and Izhar is the brightest point of the day. Glory be to the One Who created both of them, the Cleaver of the daybreak and the One Who makes night a time of rest. Allah says: “By the day as it shows up its brightness. By the night as it conceals it.” (91:3-4) “By the night as it envelops. By the day as it appears in brightness.” (92:1-2) “By the forenoon (after sunrise). By the night when it darkens.” (93:1-2) And there are many similar Ayat. “He brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living. This is what we see of His power to create things and their opposites. These Ayat which come one after the other are all of the same; in each of them Allah mentions the creation of things and their opposites, to indicate to His creation the perfection of His power. Thus He creates the plant from the seed and the seed from the plant; He creates the egg from the chicken and the chicken from the egg; He creates man from sperm and sperm from man; He creates the believer from the disbelievers and the disbeliever from the believers. “And He revives the earth after its death.” This is like the Ayat: “And a sign for them is the dead land. We give it life, and We bring forth from it grains, so that they eat thereof.” until: “and We have caused springs of water to gush forth therein.” (36:33-34) “And you see the earth barren, but when We send down water on it, it is stirred, and it swells and puts forth every lovely kind.” until: “and certainly, Allah will resurrect those who are in the graves.” (22:5-7) “And it is He Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy. Till when they have carried a heavy-laden cloud” until: “so that you may remember or take heed.” (7:57) Allah says here: “And thus shall you be brought out.”

{20. And among His signs is this that He created you from dust, and then – behold you are human beings scattered!

21. And among His signs is this that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.}

Among the Signs of Allah

Allah says: “And among His signs” – which speak of His might and power, is the fact that He created your father Adam out of dust. “and then – behold you are human beings scattered!” So man’s origins lie in dust, then in a despised liquid, then he is formed and becomes a clot, then a lump of flesh, then bones in the form of a human being. Then Allah clothes the bones with flesh. Then the soul is breathed into him and he can hear and see. Then he comes forth from his mother’s womb, small and weak, but the longer he lives, the stronger he becomes, until he reaches the age where he can build cities and strongholds, and he travels to different lands and across the seas, earning a living and amassing wealth, and he is smart and intelligent and crafty, with ideas and opinions of his own, and each one is able to achieve great things in this world and in the Hereafter according to his individual means. Glory be to the One Who has enabled them and made it easy for them to learn all kinds of skills for earning a living, and has caused them to vary in their levels of knowledge and intellectual ability, and in how handsome or ugly, rich or poor they are, and in whether they are blessed and doomed. Allah says: “And among His signs is this that He created you from dust, and then – behold you are human beings scattered!” Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Musa said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Allah created Adam from a handful taken from throughout the earth. Hence the sons of Adam vary as the earth varies, so they are white and red and black and [colors] in between, evil and good, easy-going or difficult – or something in between.” (Ahmad 4:406)

This was also recorded by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi, who said, “This Hadith is Hasan Sahih.” (Abu Dawud 5:67, Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:290) Allah said: “And among His signs is this that He created for you wives from among yourselves,” meaning, ‘He created females of your own kind, to be wives for you.’ “that you may find repose in them,” This is like the Ayah, “It is He Who has created you from a single person, and He has created from him his wife, in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her” (7:189). This refers to Hawwa’. Allah created her from Adam, from the short rib on his left. If Allah had made all of Adam’s progeny male, and created the females from another kind, such as from Jinn or animals, there would never have been harmony between them and their spouses. There would have been revulsion if the spouses had been from a different kind. Out of Allah’s perfect mercy He made their wives from their own kind, and created love and kindness between them. For a man stays with a woman because he loves her, or because he feels compassion towards her if they have a child together, or because she needs him to take care of her, etc. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.”

{22. And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colors. Verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge.

23. And among His signs is your sleep by night and by day, and your seeking His bounty. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who listen.}

Allah said: “And among His signs” indicating His magnificent power. “is the creation of the heavens and the earth,” The heavens with their vast height and brightness and beauty of the stars and planets, and the earth with its density and its mountains, valleys, seas, plains, animals and trees. “and the difference of your languages” So, we see that some speak Arabic, and the Tatars have their own language, as do the Georgians, Romans, Franks, Berbers, Tou Couleurs (of Sudan), Ethiopians, Indians, Persians, Slavs, Khazars, Armenians, Kurds and others. Only Allah knows the variety of languages spoken among the sons of Adam. And the difference of their colors mentioned here refers to their appearance, for all the people of this world, from the time that Allah created Adam, and until the Hour begins, each of them has two eyes, two eyebrows, a nose, a forehead, a mouth and two cheeks, but none of them looks like another; there is bound to be some difference in posture, appearance and speech, whether it is apparent or is hidden and can only be noticed with careful observation. Each face has its own characteristics and does not look like another; even if there was a group of people who looked alike, having a beautiful or ugly characteristic in common, there would still be a difference between one person and the next. “Verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge.” “And among His signs is your sleep by night and by day, and your seeking of His bounty.” Among His signs is the cycle of sleep that He has created during the night and the day, when people are able to cease moving and rest, so that their tiredness and exhaustion will go away. And He has enabled you to seek to earn a living and to travel about during the day, this is the opposite of sleep. “Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who listen.” meaning, understand.

{24. And among His signs is that He shows you the lightning, for fear and for hope, and He sends down water from the sky, and therewith revives the earth after its death. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who understand.

25. And among His signs is that the heaven and the earth stand by His command. Then afterwards when He will call you by a single call, behold, you will come out from the earth.}

Allah says, “And among His signs” which speak of His greatness, “He shows you the lightning, for fear and for hope,” Sometimes you fear the heavy rain and destructive thunderbolts that follow it, and sometimes you feel hope, when you see a flash of lightning, that much-needed rain will come. Allah says: “and He sends down water from the sky, and therewith revives the earth after its death.” After it was barren, with nothing growing there, then the water comes to it and “it is stirred, and it swells and puts forth every lovely kind (of growth).” (22:5). In this is a clear sign and proof of the resurrection and the coming of the Hour. Allah says: “Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who understand.” Then Allah says: “And among His signs is that the heaven and the earth stand by His command.” This is like the Ayat: “He withholds the heaven from falling on the earth except by His leave” (22: 65). “Verily, Allah grasps the heavens and the earth lest they should move away from their places” (35:41). Whenever Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, swore an emphatic oath, he would say, “No, by the One by Whose command the heaven and the earth stand,” i.e., they stand firm by His command to them and His subjugation of them. Then, when the Day of Resurrection comes, the Day when the earth will be exchanged with another earth and the dead will come forth from their graves, brought back to life by His command and His call to them, “Then afterwards when He will call you by a single call, behold, you will come out from the earth.” This is like the Ayat: “On the Day when He will call you, and you will answer with His praise and obedience, and you will think that you have stayed but a little while!” (17:52) “But it will be only a single Zajrah. When behold, they find themselves on the surface of the earth alive after their death.” (79:13-14) and “It will be but a single Sayhah, so behold they will all be brought up before Us!” (36:53).

{26. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth. All are obedient to Him.

27. And He it is Who originates the creation, then He will repeat it; and this is easier for Him. His is the highest description in the heavens and in the earth. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.}

Allah says: “To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth.” means, He owns it and it is enslaved to Him. (All are obedient to Him.) they are humble before Him and submit to Him, whether willingly or unwillingly.

Repeating the Creation is easier for Allah

Allah’s saying: “And He it is Who originates the creation, then He will repeat it; and this is easier for Him.” Ibn Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said, “This means it is easier for Him.” (At-Tabari 20:92) Mujahid said: “Repeating it is easier for Him than originating it, and originating it is easy for Him.” (At-Tabari 20:92) This was also the view of Ikrimah and others. (At-Tabari 20:92)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Allah says; “The son of Adam denied Me, and he had no right to do so. And he reviled Me, and he had no right to do so. As for his denying Me, it is his saying: ‘He will not remake me as He originated me’ — while originating the creation is not easier for Me than re-creating him. As for his reviling Me, it is his saying: ‘Allah has taken to Himself a son,’ while I am the One, the Self-Sufficient Master; I beget not, nor was I begotten, and there is none comparable to Me.”

This was recorded only by Al-Bukhari. (Fath Al-Bari 8:611, 612) “His is the highest description in the heavens and in the earth.” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported Ibn Abbas said, “This is like the Ayah “There is nothing like Him” (42:11).’ Qatadah said: “His description is La ilaha illallah, and there is no Lord but He.”

{28. He sets forth for you a parable from yourselves: Do you have partners among those whom your right hands possess to share as equals in the wealth We have bestowed on you, whom you fear as you fear each other? Thus do We explain the signs in detail to a people who have sense.

29. Nay, but those who do wrong follow their own lusts without knowledge. Then who will guide him whom Allah has sent astray And for such there will be no helpers.}

A Parable of Tawhid

This is the parable Allah makes of the idolators, those who worship others besides Him and attribute partners to Him, while at the same time admitting that these so-called partners – idols and false gods – are enslaved to and belong to Him. In their Talbiyah [during Hajj and Umrah] they used to say, “At Your service, You have no partner except the partner that You have, You own Him and whatever he owns.’ “He sets forth for you a parable from yourselves” ‘something which you yourselves can see witness, and understand.’ “Do you have partners among those whom your right hands possess to share as equals in the wealth We have bestowed on you…?” ‘None of you would like to have his servant as a partner in his wealth, each of them having an equal share.’ “whom you fear as you fear each other.” ‘You fear that they will have a share in your wealth with you.’ Abu Mijlaz said, “You do not fear that your servant will have a share in your wealth, because he has no such right; similarly, Allah has no partner.” (At-Tabari 20:96) The point is, that since any one of you would abhor such a thing, how can you attribute rivals to Allah from among His creation?

“Thus do We explain the signs in detail to a people who have sense.” Then Allah points out that when the idolators worship others instead of Him, doing so out of their own folly and ignorance: “Nay, but those who do wrong follow…”, meaning, the idolators, “…their own lusts” means, in their worship of false gods without knowledge.  “Then who will guide him whom Allah has sent astray?” means, no one can guide them if Allah has decreed that they will be misguided. “And for such there will be no helpers.” means, there is no one who can save them from the power of Allah or grant them a way out, for what He wills, happens and what He does not will, does not happen.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir Vol 7 (Abridged) Pages 517-543

 

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Surah Al-Ankabut Ayat 50-66 (end)

{50. And they say: “Why are not signs sent down to him from his Lord?” Say: “The signs are only with Allah, and I am only a plain warner.”

51. Is it not sufficient for them that We have sent down to you the Book which is recited to them? Verily, herein is mercy and a reminder for a people who believe.

52. Say: “Sufficient is Allah for a witness between me and you. He knows what is in the heavens and on the earth.” And those who believe in falsehood, and disbelieve in Allah, it is they who are the losers.}

The Idolators’ demand for Signs, and the Response

Allah tells us how the idolators stubbornly demanded signs, meaning that they wanted signs to show them that Muhammad was indeed the Messenger of Allah, just as Salih was given the sign of the she-camel. Allah says: “(Say) – ‘O Muhammad’ – “The signs are only with Allah” meaning, ‘the matter rests with Allah, and if He knew that you would be guided, He would respond to your request, because it is very easy for Him to do that. Yet He knows that you are merely being stubborn and putting me to the test, so He will not respond to you.’ This is like the Ayah, “And nothing stops Us from sending the Ayat but that the people of old denied them. And We sent the she-camel to Thamud as a clear sign, but they did her wrong” (17:59). “and I am only a plain warner” means, ‘I have been sent to you only as a warner to bring a clear warning; all I have to do is convey the Message of Allah to you.’ “He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly-guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no guide to lead him.” (18:17) “Not upon you is their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills” (2:272). Then Allah shows us how ignorant and foolish they were when they demanded a sign to prove to them that what Muhammad had brought to them was true. He brought them a great Book which falsehood cannot reach, neither from before it or behind it, it was greater than all other miracles, for the most eloquent of men could not match it or produce ten Surahs, or even one Surah like it. “Is it not sufficient for them that We have sent down to you the Book which is recited to them?” means, ‘is it not sufficient as a sign for them that We have sent down to you this great Book which tells them about what happened before their time, what will happen after they are gone, and passes judgement between them. Even though you are an unlettered man who can neither read nor write, and you have not mixed with any of the People of the Book. Yet you brought them news of what was said in the first Scriptures showing what is right in the matters that they dispute over, and bringing clear and obvious truth. ‘ As Allah says: “Is it not a sign to them that the learned scholars of the Children of Israel knew it (to be true)?” (26:197) “They say: “Why does he not bring us a sign from his Lord” Has there not come to them the proof of that which is in the former Scriptures” (20:133) Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said:

“There is no Prophet who was not given some miracles that would make the people believe in him. What I have been given is revelation which Allah reveals to me, and I hope that I will have the greatest number of followers on the Day of Resurrection.” (Ahmad 2:341)

It was also recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. (Fath Al-Bari 8:619, Muslim 1:134)

Indeed Allah has said: “Verily, herein is mercy and a reminder for a people who believe.” In this Qur’an there is mercy, that is, explanation of the truth and removal of falsehood, and a reminder to the believers of the punishment that is to come to the disbelievers and sinners. Then Allah says: “Say: “Sufficient is Allah for a witness between me and you…” ‘He knows best the words of denial that you utter, and he knows what I am telling you about Him and that He has sent me. If I were telling lies about Him, He would have executed His vengeance upon me,’ as Allah says elsewhere: “And if he had forged a false saying concerning Us, We surely would have seized him by his right hand, and then We certainly would have cut off his aorta, and none of you could have withheld Us from (punishing) him.” (69:44-47). ‘But I am telling the truth in what I say to you about Him, so He has supported me with clear miracles and definitive evidence.’ “He knows what is in the heavens and the earth.” means, nothing is hidden from Him at all. “And those who believe in falsehood, and disbelieve in Allah, it is they who are the losers.” means, on the Day of Resurrection, they will be punished for what they did, and will get what they justly deserve for rejecting the truth and following falsehood, for disbelieving in the Messengers of Allah even when there was proof that they were telling the truth, and for worshipping false gods with no evidence. Allah will punish them for all that, for He is All-Wise and All-Knowing.

{53. And they ask you to hasten on the torment, and had it not been for a term appointed, the torment would certainly have come to them. And surely, it will come upon them suddenly while they perceive not!

54. They ask you to hasten on the torment. And verily, Hell, of a surety, will encompass the disbelievers.

55. On the Day when the torment shall cover them from above them and from beneath their feet, and it will be said: “Taste what you used to do.”}

 

How the Idolators asked for the Torment to be hastened on

Allah tells us of the ignorance of the idolators and how they asked for the punishment of Allah to be hastened so that it would befall them quickly. This is like the Ayah, “And when they said: “O Allah! If this is indeed the truth from You, then rain down stones on us from the sky or bring on us a painful torment.” (8:32). And Allah says here: “And they ask you to hasten on the torment, and had it not been for a term appointed, the torment would certainly have come to them.” Were it not for the fact that Allah has decreed that the punishment should be delayed until the Day of Resurrection, the torment would have come upon them quickly as they demanded. Then Allah says: “And surely, it will come upon them suddenly while they perceive not! They ask you to hasten on the torment. And verily, Hell, of a surety, will encompass the disbelievers.” means, ‘they ask you to hasten on the punishment, but it will undoubtedly befall them.’ “On the Day when the torment (Hellfire) shall cover them from above them and from beneath their feet,” This is like the Ayah, “Theirs will be a bed of Hell, and over them coverings (of Hell-fire)” (7:41). “They shall have coverings of Fire, above them and coverings (of Fire) beneath them” (39:16). “If only those who disbelieved knew (the time) when they will not be able to ward off the Fire from their faces, nor from their backs” (21:39). The Fire will cover them from all sides, which is more effective as a physical punishment. “and it will be said: “Taste what you used to do.” This is a threat and a rebuke, which is a form of psychological punishment, as in the Ayah, “The Day they will be dragged on their faces into the Fire (it will be said to them): “Taste you the touch of Hell!” Verily, We have created all things with a measurement.” (54:48-49) “The Day when they will be pushed down by force to the fire of Hell, with a horrible, forceful pushing. This is the Fire which you used to deny. Is this magic or do you not see Enter you therein (taste you therein its heat) and whether you are patient of it or impatient of it, it is all the same. You are only being requited for what you used to do.” (52:13-16)

{56. O My servants who believe! Certainly, spacious is My earth. Therefore worship Me.

57. Everyone shall taste death. Then unto Us you shall be returned.

58. And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, to them We shall surely give lofty dwellings in Paradise, beneath which rivers flow, to live therein forever. Excellent is the reward for the workers.

59. Those who are patient, and put their trust in their Lord.

60. And so many a moving creature carries not its own provision! Allah provides for it and for you. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.}

 

Advice to migrate and the Promise of Provision and a Goodly Reward

Allah commands His believing servants to migrate from a land in which they are not able to establish Islam, to the spacious earth of Allah where they can do so, by declaring Allah to be One and worshipping Him as He has commanded. Allah says: “O My servants who believe! Certainly, spacious is My earth. Therefore worship Me.” When things became too difficult for the believers in Makkah who were in a weak position and were oppressed, they left and migrated to Ethiopia, where they were able to practice their religion. The Muslims found Ethiopia the best place for guest; where Ashamah, the Negus or king, may Allah have mercy on him, gave them refuge, helped them, supported them, and honored them in his land. Later, the Messenger of Allah and his remaining Companions migrated to Al-Madinah, formerly known as Yathrib, may Allah protect it. Then Allah says: “Everyone shall taste death. Then unto Us you shall be returned.” meaning, ‘wherever you are, death with catch up with you, so always obey Allah and be where Allah commands you to be, for this is better for you. Death is inevitable and there is no escape from it, and then you will return to Allah, and whoever was obedient to Him will have the best reward.’ Allah says: “And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, to them We shall surely give lofty dwellings in Paradise, underneath which rivers flow,” meaning, ‘We shall cause them to dwell in lofty homes in Paradise under which various kinds of rivers flow – water, wine, honey and milk – which they can direct and cause to flow wherever they wish.’ “to live therein forever.” means, they will remain there forever, never wanting to leave. “Excellent is the reward for the workers.” these rooms will be a blessed reward for the good deeds of the believers, “Those who are patient,” in adhering to their religion, who migrated for the sake of Allah and fought the enemy, leaving behind their families and relatives to seek Allah’s Face, and hoping for that which is with Him, believing His promise. Ibn Abi Hatim, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded from Abu Muaniq Al-Ashari that Abu Malik Al-Ashari told him that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, told him:

“In Paradise there are rooms whose outside can be seen from the inside, and their inside can be seen from the outside; Allah has prepared them for those who feed others, who speak well, who pray and fast continually, and who stand in prayer at night while people are asleep.”

“and put their trust in their Lord.” (At-Tabarani 17:372) in all their affairs, spiritual and worldly alike. Then Allah tells us that provision is not limited only to one place, but it is given to all His creatures no matter where they are. Indeed, when the Muhajirin migrated, their provision was greater and better than before, because after a short time they became rulers in the land, in all regions. Allah says: “And so many a moving creature carries not its own provision!” meaning, it does not have the ability to gather its provision and save it for tomorrow. “Allah provides for it and for you.” means, Allah allots its provision to it even though it is weak, and makes it easy for it. He sends provision to every creature in the appropriate manner, even the ants in the depths of the earth, the birds in the air and the fish in the sea. Allah says: “And no moving creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah. And He knows its dwelling place and its deposit. All is in a Clear Book.” (11:6) “And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” means, He hears all that His servants say and He knows their every movements.

{61. And if you were to ask them: “Who has created the heavens and the earth and subjected the sun and the moon” They will surely reply: “Allah.” How then are they deviating?

62. Allah expands the provision for whom He wills of His servants, and straitens it for whom (He wills). Verily, Allah is the All-Knower of everything.

63. And if you were to ask them: “Who sends down water from the sky, and gives life therewith to the earth after its death” They will surely reply: “Allah.” Say: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah!” Nay, most of them have no sense.}

Evidences of Tawhid

Allah states that there is no God but He. The idolators who worshipped others besides Him recognized that He was the sole creator of the heavens and earth, the sun and the moon, alternating the night and day. They acknowledged that He was the Creator Who provided for His servants and decreed how long they should live. He made them and their provision different, so that some were rich and some were poor, and He knew best what was suitable for each of them, who deserved to be rich and who deserved to be poor. So, Allah stated that He has alone created everything, and that He alone is controlling them – if this is how it is, then why worship anyone else Why put one’s trust in anyone else Since dominion is His Alone, then let worship be for Him Alone. Allah often establishes His divinity by referring to their acknowledgement of His Unique Lordship, because the idolators used to acknowledge His Lordship, as they said in their Talbiyah (during Hajj and Umrah) “At Your service, You have no partner, except the partner that You have, and You possess him and whatever he has.”

{64. And this life of the world is only an amusement and a play! Verily, the home of the Hereafter – that is the life indeed, if they but knew.

65. And when they embark on a ship, they invoke Allah, making their faith pure for Him only, but when He brings them safely to land, behold, they give a share of their worship to others.

66. So that they become ingrate for that which We have given them, and that they take their enjoyment, but they will come to know.}

Allah tells us how insignificant and transient this world is, and how it will soon end. All that it “Verily, the home of the Hereafter — that is the life indeed,” means, the true everlasting life that will never end, but will continue forever and ever. “if they but knew.” means, they would prefer that which will last over that which will pass away. Then Allah says that at times of calamity, the idolators call upon Him alone, with no partner or associate, so why do they not do that all the time “And when they embark on a ship, they invoke Allah, making their faith pure for Him only,” This is like the Ayah, “And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon vanish from you except Him (Allah Alone). But when He brings you safely to land, you turn away” (17:67). Allah says here: “but when He brings them safely to land, behold, they give a share of their worship to others.” Muhammad bin Ishaq reported from Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl that when the Messenger of Allah conquered Makkah, he (Ikrimah) ran away, fleeing from him. When he was on the sea, headed for Ethiopia, the ship started to rock and the crew said: “O people, pray sincerely to your Lord alone, for no one can save us from this except Him.” Ikrimah said: “By Allah, if there is none who can save us on the sea except Him, then there is none who can save us on land except Him either, O Allah, I vow to You that if I come out of this, I will go and put my hand in the hand of Muhammad and I will find him kind and merciful.” And this is what indeed did happen. (At-Tabarani 3:301) “So that they become ingrate for that which We have given them, and that they take their enjoyment.” 

{67. Have they not seen that We have made a secure sanctuary, while men are being snatched away from all around them? Then do they believe in falsehood, and deny the graces of Allah

68. And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allah or denies the truth, when it comes to him? Is there not a dwelling in Hell for the disbelievers?

69. As for those who strive hard for Us, We will surely guide them to Our paths. And verily, Allah is with the doers of good.}

The Blessing of the Sanctuary Here

Allah reminds Quraysh how He blessed them by granting them access to His sanctuary which He has made (open) to (all) men, the dweller in it and the visitor from the country are equal there, and whoever enters it is safe, because he is in a place of great security, although the Arabs of the desert round about used to ambush and raid one another and kill one another. As Allah says: “For the protection of the Quraysh. The caravans to set forth safe in winter and in summer. So let them worship the Lord of this House. Who has fed them against hunger, and has made them safe from fear.” (106:1-4) “Then do they believe in falsehood, and deny the graces of Allah” means, is the thanks that they give for this immense blessing to associate others with Him and worship others besides Him, idols and rivals “Have you not seen those who have changed the blessings of Allah into disbelief, and caused their people to dwell in the house of destruction?” (14:28) They disbelieved in the Prophet, servant and Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, when what they should have done was to worship Allah Alone and not associate anything with Him, and to believe in, honor and respect the Messenger, but they rejected him and fought him, and expelled him from their midst. So, Allah took His blessing away from them, and killed those of them whom He killed at Badr, then His Messenger and the believers gained the upper hand, and Allah enabled His Messenger to conquer Makkah, and He disgraced them and humiliated them (the disbelievers). Then Allah says: “And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allah or denies the truth, when it comes to him?” There is no one who will be more severely punished than one who tells lies about Allah and says that Allah revealed something to him at the time when Allah did not reveal anything to him, or says, ‘I shall reveal something like that which Allah revealed.’ And there is no one who will be more severely punished than one who denies the truth when it comes to him, for the former is a fabricator and the latter is a disbeliever. Allah says: “Is there not a dwelling in Hell for the disbelievers?” Then Allah says: “As for those who strive hard for Us,” meaning the Messenger and his Companions and those who follow him, until the Day of Resurrection, “We will surely guide them to Our paths” means, ‘We will help them to follow Our path in this world and the Hereafter.’ Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Abbas Al-Hamdani Abu Ahmad – one of the people of Akka (Palestine) — said, concerning the Ayah: “As for those who strive hard for Us (in Our cause), We will surely guide them to Our paths. And verily, Allah is with the doers of good.” “Those who act upon what they know, Allah will guide them to that which they do not know.” Ahmad bin Abu Al-Hawari said, “I told this to Abu Sulayman Ad-Darani, and he liked it and said: ‘No one who is inspired to do something good should do it until he hears a report concerning that; if he hears a report then he should go ahead and do it, and praise Allah because it was in accordance with what he himself felt.”’ “And verily, Allah is with the doers of good.” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ash-Shabi said; “Isa bin Maryam, peace be upon him, said: ‘Righteousness means doing good to those who ill-treat you, it does not mean doing good to those who do good to you.”’ And Allah knows best.

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Ankabut.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 501-516

 

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