Surah Al-Qasas Ayah 29-47

{29. Then, when Musa had fulfilled the term, and was traveling with his family, he saw a fire in the direction of At-Tur. He said to his family: “Wait, I have seen a fire; perhaps I may bring to you from there some information, or a burning firebrand that you may warm yourselves.”

30. So when he reached it, he was called from the right side of the valley, in the blessed place, from the tree: “O Musa! Verily, I am Allah, the Lord of all that exists!”

31. “And throw your stick!” But when he saw it moving as if it were a snake, he turned in flight, and looked not back. (It was said:) “O Musa! Draw near, and fear not. Verily, you are of those who are secure.”

32. “Put your hand into the opening of your garment, it will come forth white without a disease; and draw your hand close to your side to be free from the fear. These are two proofs from your Lord to Firawn and his chiefs. Verily, they are the people who are rebellious.”}

Musa’s Return to Egypt and how he was honored with the Mission and Miracles on the Way

In the explanation of the previous Ayah, we have already seen that Musa completed the longer and better of the two terms, which may also be understood from the Ayah where Allah says: “Then, when Musa had fulfilled the term,” meaning, the longer of the two; and Allah knows best. “and was traveling with his family,” They said: “Musa missed his country and his relatives, so he resolved to visit them in secret, without Firawn and his people knowing. So he gathered up his family and the flocks which his father-in-law had given to him, and set out on a cold, dark, rainy night. They stopped to camp, and whenever he tried to start a fire, he did not succeed. He was surprised by this, and while he was in this state, “he saw a fire in the direction of At-Tur” he saw a fire burning from a far. “He said to his family: “Wait, I have seen a fire…” meaning, ‘wait while I go there, ‘ “perhaps I may bring to you from there some information,” This was because they lost their way. “or a burning firebrand that you may warm yourselves.” so that they could get warm and find relief from the cold. “So when he reached it (the fire), he was called from the right side of the valley,” From the side of the valley that adjoined the mountain on his right, to the west. This is like the Ayah, “And you were not on the western side, when We made clear to Musa the commandment” (20:44). This indicates that when Musa headed for the fire, he headed in the direction of the Qiblah with the western mountain on his right. He found the fire burning in a green bush on the side of the mountain adjoining the valley, and he stood there amazed at what he was seeing. Then his Lord called him: “from the right side of the valley, in the blessed place, from the tree.” “O Musa! Verily, I am Allah, the Lord of all that exits!” meaning, ‘the One Who is addressing you and speaking to you is the Lord of all that exits, the One Who does what He wills, the One apart from Whom there is no other god or lord, may He be exalted and sanctified, the One Who by His very nature, attributes, words and deeds is far above any resemblance to His creation, may He be glorified. “And throw your stick!” ‘the stick that is in your hand’ – as was stated in the Ayah, “And what is that in your right hand, O Musa” He said: “This is my stick, whereon I lean, and wherewith I beat down branches for my sheep, and wherein I find other uses.” (20:17-18). The meaning is: ‘this stick, which you know so well’ “Cast it down, O Musa!” He cast it down, and behold! It was a snake, moving quickly.” (20:19-20). Musa knew that the One Who was speaking to him was the One Who merely says to a thing, “Be!” and it is, as we have already stated in (the explanation of) Surah Ta Ha. (Fath Al-Bari 5:342) And here Allah says: “But when he saw it moving as if it were a snake, he turned in flight,” It moved so quickly, even though it was so big, and its mouth was so huge, with its jaws snapping. It swallowed every rock it passed, and every rock that fell into its mouth fell with a sound like a rock falling into a valley. When he saw that: “he turned in flight, and looked not back.” he did not turn around, because it is human nature to flee from such a thing. But when Allah said to him: “O Musa! Draw near, and fear not. Verily, you are of those who are secure.” he came back to his original position. Then Allah said: “Put your hand into the opening of your garment, it will come forth white without a disease” meaning, ‘when you put your hand in your garment and then draw it out, it will be shining white as if it were a piece of the moon or a flash of lightning.’ Allah said: (without a disease) i.e., with no trace of leukoderma. “and draw your hand close to your side to be free from the fear.” Mujahid said, “To be free from terror.” Qatadah said, “To be free from fear.” (At-Tabari 19:575) Musa was commanded, when he felt afraid of anything, to draw his hand close to his side to be free from the fear. If he did that, whatever fear he felt would be gone. Perhaps if a person does this, following the example of Musa, and puts his hand over his heart, his fear will disappear or be lessened, if Allah wills; in Allah we place our trust. “These are two proofs from your Lord” This refers to the throwing down of his stick, whereupon it turned into a moving snake, and his putting his hand into his garment and bringing it forth white without a disease. These were two clear and definitive proofs of the power of the One Who does as He chooses, and of the truth of the prophethood of the one at whose hands these miracles occurred. Allah said: “to Firawn and his chiefs.” meaning his leaders and prominent followers. “Verily, they are the people who are rebellious.” means, who are disobedient towards Allah and who go against His commands and His religion.

{33. He said: “My Lord! I have killed a man among them, and I fear that they will kill me.”

34. “And my brother Harun – he is more eloquent in speech than me, so send him with me as a helper to confirm me. Verily, I fear that they will deny me.”

35. Allah said: “We will strengthen your arm through your brother, and give you both power, so they shall not be able to harm you, with Our Ayat; you two as well as those who follow you, will be the victors.”}

 

How Musa asked for the Support of His Brother and was granted that by Allah

When Allah commanded him to go to Firawn, the one who he had run away from and whose vengeance he feared, “Musa said: My Lord! I have killed a man among them,” meaning, that Coptic, “and I fear that they will kill me.” i.e., ‘when they see me.’ “And my brother Harun – he is more eloquent in speech than me,” Musa, peace be upon him, had a speech defect, because when he had been given the choice between a date and a pearl, he mistakenly picked up a coal and placed it on his tongue, so he found it difficult to speak clearly. Musa said: “And loose the knot (the defect) from my tongue. That they understand my speech. And appoint for me a helper from my family, Harun, my brother. Increase my strength with him, And let him share my task.” (20:27-32) meaning, ‘give me someone to keep me company in this immense task of prophethood and conveying the Message to this arrogant, tyrannical and stubborn king. ‘ Hence Musa said: “And my brother Harun — he is more eloquent in speech than me: so send him with me as a helper” meaning, as a support to give strength to my cause and confirm what I say and convey from Allah, because the word of two carries more weight in people’s minds than the word of one. So he said: “Verily, I fear that they will deny me.” Muhammad bin Ishaq said: “as a helper to confirm me.” means, ‘to explain to them what I say, for he can understand me where they may not.’ When Musa asked for this, Allah said to him: “We will strengthen your arm through your brother,” meaning, ‘We will add strength to your cause and give you help through your brother, who you have asked to be made a Prophet alongside you.’ This is like the Ayat; “You are granted your request, O Musa!” (20:36) “And We granted him his brother Harun, (also) a Prophet, out of Our mercy” (19:53). One of the Salaf said, “There is no one who has ever done a greater favor to his brother than Musa did for Harun, may peace be upon them both, for he interceded for him until Allah made him a Prophet and Messenger with him to Firawn and his chiefs. Allah said concerning Musa: “he was honorable before Allah” (33:69). “and (We will) give you both power” means, overwhelming evidence. so they shall not be able to harm you, with Our Ayat” means, ‘they will have no way or means of harming you because you are conveying the signs of Allah.’ This is like the Ayat: “O Messenger! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent down to you from your Lord.” until His saying: “Allah will protect you from mankind” (5:67). “Those who convey the Message of Allah” until His saying: “And sufficient is Allah as a Reckoner” (33:39). And sufficient is Allah as a Helper and Supporter. And Allah told them the consequences in this world and the next, for them and for those who followed them, “you two as well as those who follow you will be the victors.” This is like the Ayat: “Allah has decreed: “Verily, it is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious.” Verily, Allah is All-Powerful, All-Mighty.” (58:21) “Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers and those who believe in this world’s life” (40:51) to the end of the Ayah.

{36. Then when Musa came to them with Our Clear Ayat, they said: “This is nothing but invented magic. Never did we hear of this among our fathers of old.”

37. Musa said: “My Lord knows best him who came with guidance from Him, and whose will be the happy end in the Hereafter. Verily, the wrongdoers will not be successful.”}

Musa before Firawn and His People

Allah tells us how Musa and his brother Harun came before Firawn and his chiefs, and showed them the clear miracles and overwhelming proof that Allah had given them to confirm the truth of what they were saying about Allah being One and that His commandments were to be followed. Firawn and his chiefs saw that with their own eyes and realized that it was certainly from Allah, but because of their disbelief and sin they resorted to stubbornness and false arguments. This was because they were too evil and arrogant to follow the truth. They said: “This is nothing but invented magic.” meaning, fabricated and made up. They wanted to oppose him by means of their own tricks and their position and power, but this did not work. “Never did we hear of this among our fathers of old.” They were referring worshipping Allah Alone, with no partner or associate. They said: “We have never seen anyone among our forefathers following this religion; we have only ever seen people associating other gods in worship with Allah. Musa said in response to them: “My Lord knows best him who came with guidance from Him,” meaning, ‘of me and you, and He will decide between me and you.’ So he said: “and whose will be the happy end in the Hereafter.” meaning, who will be supported and will prevail. “Verily, the wrongdoers will not be successful.” refers to the idolators who associate others in worship with Allah.

{38. Firawn said: “O chiefs! I know not that you have a god other than me. So kindle for me (a fire), O Haman, to bake clay, and set up for me a Sarh in order that I may look at the God of Musa; and verily, I think that he (Musa) is one of the liars.”

39. And he and his armies were arrogant in the land, without right, and they thought that they would never return to Us.

40. So, We seized him and his armies, and We threw them all into the sea. So, behold what was the end of the wrongdoers.

41. And We made them leaders inviting to the Fire: and on the Day of Resurrection, they will not be helped.

42. And We made a curse to follow them in this world, and on the Day of Resurrection, they will be among disgraced.}

 

The Arrogance of Firawn and His ultimate Destiny

Allah tells us of Firawn’s disbelief and wrongdoing, and how he falsely claimed divinity for his evil self, may Allah curse him. “Thus he fooled his people, and they obeyed him.” (43:54) He called on his people to recognize his divinity, and they responded, because of their weak and foolish minds. So, he said: “O chiefs! I know not that you have a god other than me.” Allah tells us about Firawn: “Then he gathered (his people) and cried aloud, saying: “I am your lord, most high.” So Allah, seized him with punishment for his last and first transgression. Verily, in this is an instructive admonition for whosoever fears Allah.” (79:23-26) meaning: he brought his people together and called to them in a loud voice, shouting that, and they responded to him obediently. So Allah took revenge on him, and made him a lesson to others in this world and the Hereafter. He even confronted Musa with that, and said: “If you choose a god other than me, I will certainly put you among the prisoners” (26:29). “So kindle for me (a fire), O Haman, to bake (bricks out of) clay, and set up for me a Sarh in order that I may look at the God of Musa” He commanded his minister and adviser Haman to bake bricks for him, i.e., to make bricks in order to build a Sarh, a exalted towering palace. This is like the Ayah, “And Firawn said: “O Haman! Build me a Sarh that I may arrive at the ways – the ways of the heavens, and I may look upon the God of Musa, but verily, I think him to be a liar.” Thus it was made fair seeming, in Firawn’s eyes, the evil of his deeds, and he was hindered from the path; and the plot of Firawn led to nothing but loss and destruction” (40:36-37). Firawn built this tower, which was the highest structure ever seen on earth, because he wanted to show his people that Musa was lying when he claimed that there was a God other than Firawn. Firawn said: “and verily, I think that he (Musa) is one of the liars.” meaning, ‘when he says that there is a lord other than me.’ The issue was not whether Allah had sent Musa, because he did not acknowledge the existence of the Creator in the first place. On the contrary, he said: “And what is the Lord of Al-Alamin” (26:23) and: “And what is the Lord of Al-Alamin” (26:23) and: “O chiefs! I know not that you have a god other than me.” This was the view of Ibn Jarir. (At-Tabari 19:580) “And he and his armies were arrogant in the land, without right, and they thought that they would never return to Us.” means, they were arrogant oppressors who spread much mischief in the land, and they believed that there would be no Resurrection. “So, your Lord poured on them different kinds of severe torment. Verily, your Lord is Ever Watchful (over them).” (89:13-14). Allah says here: “So, We seized him and his armies, and We threw them all into the sea.” meaning, ‘We drowned them in the sea in a single morning, and not one of them was left.’ “So, behold what was the end of the wrongdoers. And We made them leaders inviting to the Fire” for those who followed them and took the same path as they did, rejecting the Messengers and denying the Creator. “and on the Day of Resurrection, they will not be helped.” their humiliation in this world is combined with and connected to their humiliation in the Hereafter, as Allah says: “We have destroyed them. And there was none to help them” (47:13). “And We made a curse to follow them in this world,” Allah decreed that they and their king Firawn should be cursed by the believers among His servants who follow His Messengers, just as in this world they were cursed by the Prophets and their followers. “and on the Day of Resurrection, they will be among disgraced.” Qatadah said, “This Ayah is like the Ayah, “They were pursued by a curse in this (life) and on the Day of Resurrection. Evil indeed is the gift given.” (11:99).” (At-Tabari 19:583)

{43. And indeed We gave Musa — after We had destroyed the generations of old — the Scripture as an enlightenment for mankind, and a guidance and a mercy, that they might remember.}

The Blessings which Allah bestowed upon Musa

Allah tells us about the blessings which He gave His servant and Messenger Musa, the speaker, may the best of peace and blessings from his Lord be upon him, He revealed the Tawrah to him after He destroyed Fir`awn and his chiefs. “after We had destroyed the generations of old” After the revelation of the Tawrah, no nation would again be punished with an overwhelming calamity; instead the believers were now commanded to fight the enemies of Allah among the idolators, as Allah says: “And Firawn, and those before him, and the cities overthrown committed sin. And they disobeyed their Lord’s Messenger, so He seized them with a strong punishment” (69:9-10). “as an enlightenment for mankind, and a guidance and a mercy,” guidance from blindness and error. A guidance to the truth and a mercy means, to show the way towards doing righteous deeds. “that they might remember.” means, that the people might be reminded and guided by it.

{44. And you were not on the western side (of the Mount), when We made clear to Musa the commandment, and you were not among the witnesses.

45. But We created generations, and long were the ages that passed over them. And you were not a dweller among the people of Madyan, reciting Our Ayat to them. But it is We Who kept sending (Messengers).

46. And you were not at the side of At-Tur when We called. But (you are sent) as a mercy from your Lord, to give warning to a people to whom no warner had come before you, in order that they may remember or receive admonition.

47. And if (We had) not (sent you to the people of Makkah) in case a calamity should seize them for what their hands have sent forth, they would have said: “Our Lord! Why did You not send us a Messenger We would then have followed Your Ayat and would have been among the believers.”}

Proof of the Prophethood of Muhammad, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him

Allah points out the proof of the prophethood of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, whereby he told others about matters of the past, and spoke about them as if he were hearing and seeing them for himself. But he was an illiterate man who could not read books, and he grew up among a people who knew nothing of such things. Similarly, Allah told him about Maryam and her story, as Allah said: “You were not with them, when they cast lots with their pens as to which of them should be charged with the care of Maryam; nor were you with them when they disputed” (3:44), meaning, ‘you were not present then, but Allah has revealed this to you.’ Similarly, Allah told him about Nuh and his people, and how He saved Nuh and drowned his people, then He said: “This is of the news of the Unseen which We reveal unto you ; neither you nor your people knew it before this. So, be patient. Surely, the (good) end is for those who have Taqwa” (11:49). And at the end of the same Surah (Hud) Allah says: “That is some of the news of the towns which We relate unto you” (11: 100). And here, after telling the story of Musa from beginning to end and how Allah began His revelation to him and spoke with him, Allah says: “And you were not on the western side (of the Mount), when We made clear to Musa the commandment,” meaning, ‘you – O Muhammad — were not on the western side of the mountain where Allah spoke to Musa from the tree which was to the east of it, in the valley.’ “and you were not among the witnesses.” ‘to that event, but Allah has revealed this to you,’ so that it may be evidence and proof of events which happened centuries ago, for people have forgotten the evidence that Allah established against them and what was revealed to the earlier Prophets. “And you were not a dweller among the people of Madyan, reciting Our Ayat to them.” meaning, ‘you were not living among the people of Madyan reciting Our Ayat to them, when you started to tell about Our Prophet Shuayb and what he said to his people and how they responded.’ “But it is We Who kept sending.” means, ‘but We revealed that to you and sent you to mankind as a Messenger.’ “And you were not at the side of At-Tur when We called.” Qatadah said that: “And you were not at the side of At-Tur when We did call.” refers to Musa, and this — and Allah knows best — is like the Ayah: “And you were not on the western side (of the Mount), when We made clear to Musa the commandment” Here Allah puts it in a different and more specific way by describing it as a call. This is like the Ayat: “And (remember) when your Lord called Musa” (26:10). “When his Lord called him in the sacred valley of Tuwa” (79:16). “And We called him from the right side of At-Tur, and made him draw near to Us for a talk with him” (19:52). “But (you are sent) as a mercy from your Lord,” means, ‘you were not a witness to any of those things, but Allah has revealed them to you and told you about them as a mercy from Him to you and to His servants, by sending you to them,’ “to give warning to a people to whom no warner had come before you, in order that they may remember or receive admonition.” means, ‘so that they may be guided by that which you bring from Allah.’ “And if (We had) not (sent you to the people of Makkah) – in case a calamity should seize them for (the deeds) that their hands have sent forth, they would have said: “Our Lord! Why did You not send us a Messenger” meaning: ‘and We have sent you to them to establish proof against them, and to give them no excuse when the punishment of Allah comes to them because of their disbelief, lest they offer the excuse that no Messenger or warner came to them.’ This is like what Allah says about the situation after He revealed His blessed Book the Qur’an: “Lest you should say: “The Book was sent down only to two sects before us, and for our part, we were in fact unaware of what they studied.” Or lest you should say: “If only the Book had been sent down to us, we would surely have been better guided than they.” So, now has come unto you a clear proof from your Lord, and a guidance and a mercy” (6:156-157). “Messengers as bearers of good news as well as warning in order that mankind should have no plea against Allah after the Messengers” (4:165). “O People of the Scripture! Now has come to you Our Messenger making (things) clear unto you, after a break in (the series of) Messengers, lest you say: “There came unto us no bringer of glad tidings and no warner.” But now has come unto you a bringer of glad tidings and a warner” (5:19). And there are many similar Ayat.

 Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 397-415

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Surah Al-Qasas Ayat 1-28

Surah Al-Qasas (The Story)
Chapter 28
Which was revealed in Makkah

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

 

{1. Ta Sin Mim

2. These are the Ayat of the manifest Book.

3. We recite to you some of the news of Musa and Firawn in truth, for a people who believe.

4. Verily, Firawn exalted himself in the land and made its people Shiya, weakening a group among them: killing their sons, and letting their females live. Verily, he was of the mischief-makers.

5. And We wished to do a favor to those who were weak in the land, and to make them rulers and to make them the inheritors,

6. And to establish them in the land, and We let Firawn and Haman and their armies receive from them that which they feared.}

The Story of Musa and Firawn, and what Allah intended for Their People

We have already discussed the significance of the separate letters. “These are the Ayat of the manifest Book.” means the Book which is clear and makes plain the true reality of things, and tells us about what happened and what will happen. “We recite to you some of the news of Musa and Firawn in truth,” This is like the Ayah, “We relate unto you the best of stories” (12:3). which means, ‘We tell you about things as they really were, as if you are there and are seeing them yourself.’ Then Allah says: “Verily, Firawn exalted himself in the land” means, he was an arrogant oppressor and tyrant. “and made its people Shiya” means, he made them into different classes, each of which he used to do whatever he wanted of the affairs of his state. “weakening a group among them.” This refers to the Children of Israel, who at that time were the best of people, even though this tyrant king overpowered them, using them to do the most menial work and forcing them to hard labor night and day for him and his people. At the same time, he was killing their sons and letting their daughters live, to humiliate them and because he feared that there might appear among them the boy who would be the cause of his destruction and the downfall of his kingdom. So Firawn took precautions against that happening, by ordering that all boys born to the Children of Israel should be killed, but this precaution did not protect him against the divine decree, because when the term of Allah comes, it cannot be delayed, and for each and every matter there is a decree from Allah. Allah says: “And We wished to do a favor to those who were weak in the land,” until His saying; “which they feared.” And Allah did indeed do this to them, as He says: “And We made the people who were considered weak” until His saying; “they erected” (7:137). And Allah said: “Thus and We caused the Children of Israel to inherit them” (26: 59). Firawn hoped that by his strength and power he would be saved from Musa, but that did not help him in the slightest. Despite his great power as a king he could not oppose the decree of Allah, which can never be overcome. On the contrary, Allah’s ruling was carried out, for it had been written and decreed from past eternity that Firawn would meet his doom at the hands of Musa.

{7. And We inspired the mother of Musa: “Suckle him (Musa), but when you fear for him, then cast him into the river and fear not, nor grieve. Verily, We shall bring him back to you, and shall make him one of the Messengers.”

8. Then the household of Firawn picked him up, that he might become for them an enemy and a (cause of) grief. Verily, Firawn, Haman and their armies were sinners.

9. And the wife of Firawn said: “A comfort of the eye for me and for you. Kill him not, perhaps he may be of benefit to us, or we may adopt him as a son.” And they perceived not.}

How Musa’s Mother was inspired and shown what to do

It was mentioned that when Firawn killed so many of the males of the Children of Israel, the Copts were scared that the Children of Israel would die out, and they themselves would have to do the heavy labor that the Children of Israel used to do. So they said to Firawn, “If this continues, and their old men die and the young men are killed, their women will not be able to do the work that the men are doing, and we will end up having to do it.” So Firawn issued orders that the boys should be killed one year, and left alone the following year. Harun, peace be upon him, was born in a year when the boys were not killed, and Musa was born in a year when the boys were being killed. Firawn had people who were entrusted with this task. There were midwives who would go around and check on the women, and if they noticed that any woman was pregnant, they would write her name down. When the time came for her to give birth, no one was allowed to attend her except for Coptic women. If the woman gave birth to a girl, they would leave her alone and go away, but if she gave birth to a boy, the killers would come in with their sharp knives and kill the child, then they would go away; may Allah curse them. When the mother of Musa became pregnant with him, she did not show any signs of pregnancy as other women did, and none of the midwives noticed. But when she gave birth to a boy, she became very distressed and did not know what to do with him. She was extremely scared for him, because she loved him very much. No one ever saw Musa, peace be upon him, but they loved him, and the blessed ones were those who loved him both as a natural feeling and because he was a Prophet. Allah says: “And I endued you with love from Me” (20:39).

Musa, peace be upon him, in the House of Firawn

When Musa’s mother became so worried and confused, it was inspired into her heart and mind what she should do, as Allah says: “And We inspired the mother of Musa (telling): “Suckle him, but when you fear for him, then cast him into the river and fear not, nor grieve. Verily, We shall bring him back to you, and shall make him one of (Our) Messengers.” Her house was on the banks of the Nile, so she took a box and made it into a cradle, and started to nurse her child. When someone came to her that she was afraid of, she would go and put him in that box and put it in the river, and she would tie it with a rope. One day someone that she was afraid of came to the house, so she went and put the child in that box and put it in the river, but she forgot to tie it. The water carried him away, past the house of Firawn, where some servant women picked the box up and took it to Firawn’s wife. They did not know what was inside, and they were afraid that they would be in trouble if they opened it without her. When the box was opened, they saw it was a child with the most beautiful features. Allah filled her heart with love for him when she saw him; this was because she was blessed and because Allah wanted to honor her and cause her husband’s doom. Allah says: “Then the household of Firawn picked him up, that he might become for them an enemy and a (cause of) grief.” Allah says: “Verily, Firawn, Haman and their armies were sinners.” “And the wife of Firawn said: “A comfort of the eye for me and for you…” means, when Firawn saw him, he wanted to kill him, fearing that he was one of the Children of Israel. But his wife Asiyah bint Muzahim came to the child’s defence and tried to endear him to Firawn, saying, “A comfort of the eye for me and for you.” Firawn said: “For you he may be, but not for me. And this was indeed the case: Allah guided her because of him, and destroyed him at his hands. “perhaps he may be of benefit to us,” This is indeed what happened in her case, for Allah guided her through him and caused her to dwell in Paradise because of him. “or we may adopt him as a son.” She wanted to take him and adopt him as a son, because she had no children from Firawn. “And they perceived not.” means, they did not know what Allah planned for them when they picked him up, by His great wisdom and definitive proof.

{10. And the heart of the mother of Musa became empty. She was very near to disclose his (case), had We not strengthened her heart, so that she might remain as one of the believers.

11. And she said to his sister: “Follow him.” So she watched him from a far place (secretly), while they perceived not.

12.And We had already forbidden foster suckling mothers for him, until she said: “Shall I direct you to a household who will rear him for you, and look after him in a good manner”

13. So We restored him to his mother, that her eye might be comforted, and that she might not grieve, and that she might know that the promise of Allah is true. But most of them know not.}

 

The intense Grief of Musa’s Mother, and how He was returned to Her

Allah tells us how, when her child was lost in the river, the heart of Musa’s mother became empty, i.e., she could not think of any matter in this world except Musa. This was the view of Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ikrimah, Said bin Jubayr, Abu Ubaydah, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Qatadah and others. (At-Tabari 19:529)

“She was very near to disclose his (case),” means, because of the intensity of her grief, she almost told people that she had lost a son. She would have disclosed her situation, if Allah had not given her strength and patience. Allah says: “had We not strengthened her heart, so that she might remain as one of the believers. And she said to his sister: “Follow him.” means, she told her daughter, who was older and was of an age to understand things, “Follow him.” means, follow his traces and look for information about him, try to find out about him around the city. So she went out to do that. “So she watched him from a far place (secretly),” Ibn Abbas said, “Off to the side.” (At-Tabari 19:532) Mujahid said, “It means she looked from afar. Qatadah said: “She started to look at him as if she was not really interested.” (At-Tabari 19:532)

When Musa had settled into the house of Firawn, after the king’s wife had begun to love him and asked Firawn not to kill him, they brought to him the wet nurses who were to be found in their household, and he did not accept any of them, refusing to take milk from them. So they took him out to the marketplace, hoping to find a woman who would be suitable to nurse him. When (his sister) saw him in their arms, she recognized him, but she did not give any indication nor did they suspect her. Allah says: “And We had already forbidden foster suckling mothers for him,” Because of his honored status with Allah, it was forbidden by divine decree. It was decreed that no one should nurse him except his own mother, and Allah caused this to be the means reuniting him with his mother so that she could nurse him and feel safe after having felt such fear. When [his sister] saw that they were confused over who should nurse the child, “she said: “Shall I direct you to a household who will rear him for you, and look after him in a good manner” Ibn Abbas said: When she said that, they had some doubts about her, so they seized her and asked her, How do you know these people will be sincere and will care for him” She said to them, “They will be sincere and will care for him because they want the king to be happy and because they hope for some reward.” So they let her go. After what she said, being safe from their harm, they took her to their house and brought the baby to his mother. She gave him her breast and he accepted it, so they rejoiced and sent the glad tidings to the wife of Firawn. She called for Musa’s mother, treating her kindly and rewarding her generously. She did not realize that she was his real mother, but she saw that the baby accepted her breast. Then Asiyah asked her to stay with her and nurse the baby, but she refused, saying, “I have a husband and children, and I cannot stay with you, but if you would like me to nurse him in my own home, I will do that.” The wife of Firawn agreed to that, and paid her a regular salary and gave her extra gifts and clothing and treated her kindly. The mother of Musa came back with her child, happy that after a time of fear Allah granted her security, prestige, and ongoing provision.

There was only a short time between the distress and the way out, a day and night, or thereabouts — and Allah knows best. Glory be to the One in Whose hands are all things; what He wills happens and what He does not will does not happen. He is the One Who grants those who fear Him, a way out from every worry and distress, Allah said: “So We restored him to his mother, that her eye might be comforted,” means, by him, “and that she might not grieve,” means, for him. “and that she might know that the promise of Allah is true.” meaning, ‘We had promised her to return him to her and to make him one of the Messengers.’ When he was returned to her, she realized that he was one of the Messengers, so as she brought him up, she treated him both as a child “with kindness” and as a Messenger “with respect”. “But most of them know not.” means, they do not know the wisdom of Allah in His actions and their good consequences, for which He is to be praised in this world and the Hereafter. For a thing may happen that people do not like, but its consequences are good, as Allah says: “and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you” (2:216). “it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good” (4:19).

{14. And when he reached maturity, and was complete, We bestowed on him Hukm and knowledge. And thus do We reward the doers of good.

15. And he entered the city when its people were unaware: and he found there two men fighting, – one of his party, and the other of his foes. The man of his (own) party asked him for help against his foe, so Musa struck him with his fist and he died. He said: “This is of Shaytan’s doing, verily, he is a plain misleading enemy.”

16. He said: “My Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself, so forgive me.” Then He forgave him. Verily, He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.

17. He said: “My Lord! For that with which You have favored me, I will nevermore be a helper of the criminals!”}

How Musa killed a Coptic Man

Having described Musa’s beginnings, Allah then tells us that when he reached maturity, and was complete in stature, Allah gave him Hukm and religious knowledge. Mujahid said that this means prophethood. (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 5:231)

“And thus do We reward the doers of good.” Then Allah describes how Musa reached the status that was decreed for him, that of Prophethood and speaking to Allah, as a direct consequence of killing the Coptic, which was the reason why he left Egypt and went to Madyan. Allah says: “And he entered the city when its people were unaware.” Ibn Jurayj narrated from Ata’ Al-Khurasani, from Ibn Abbas, “That was between Maghrib and Isha.” (At-Tabari 19:538) Ibn Al-Munkadir narrated from Ata’ bin Yasar from Ibn Abbas, “That was in the middle of the day.” (At-Tabari 19:538) This was also the view of Said bin Jubayr, Ikrimah, As-Suddi and Qatadah. “and he found there two men fighting,” meaning, hitting one another and struggling with one another. “one of his party,” meaning, an Israelite, “and the other of his foes.” meaning, a Coptic. (At-Tabari 19:539) This was the view of Ibn Abbas, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Muhammad bin Ishaq. (At-Tabari 19:539,540) The Israelite man asked Musa, peace be upon him, for help, and Musa took advantage of the fact that people were not paying attention, so he went to the Coptic man and “so Musa struck him with his fist and he died.” Mujahid said, “This means he punched him with his fist.” (At-Tabari 19:540) And then he died. (He said) refers to Musa. “This is of Shaytan’s doing, verily, he is a plain misleading enemy.’ He said: “My Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself, so forgive me.” Then He forgave him. Verily, He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful. He said: “My Lord! For that with which You have favored me,” meaning, ‘what You have given me of prestige, power and blessings — ‘ “I will nevermore be a helper of the criminals!” ‘those who disbelieve in You and go against Your commands.’

{18. So he became afraid, looking about in the city, when behold, the man who had sought his help the day before, called for his help (again). Musa said to him: “Verily, you are a plain misleader!”

19. Then when he decided to seize the man who was an enemy to both of them, the man said: “O Musa! Is it your intention to kill me as you killed a man yesterday Your aim is nothing but to become a tyrant in the land, and not to be one of those who do right.”}

How the Secret of this Killing became known

Allah tells us that when Musa killed that Coptic, “he became afraid in the city” meaning, of the consequences of his action, “looking about” means, turning around and watching out, waiting for the consequences of his action to befall him. He went out and about, and saw the man who sought his help the day before, fighting with another Coptic. When Musa passed by him, he called for his help again, against this other Coptic. Musa said to him: “Verily, you are a plain misleader!” meaning, ‘you obviously lead people astray and are very evil.’ Then Musa intended to attack that Coptic, but the Israelite — because of his own cowardice and weakness — thought that Musa wanted to hit him because of what he had said, so he said, in self-defence — “O Musa! Is it your intention to kill me as you killed a man yesterday” Nobody except him and Musa, peace be upon him, knew about it, but when the other Coptic heard this, he took the news to Firawn’s gate and told him about it. So Firawn came to know of it, and he became very angry and resolved to kill Musa, so he sent people after him to bring him to him.

{20. And there came a man running, from the farthest end of the city. He said: “O Musa! Verily, the chiefs are taking counsel together about you, to kill you, so escape. Truly, I am one of the good advisers to you.”}

“And there came a man” He is described as being a man because he had the courage to take a different route, a shorter route than those who were sent after Musa, so he reached Musa first and said to him: “O Musa, “Verily, the chiefs are taking counsel together about you.” meaning, ‘they are consulting with one another about you.’ “to kill you, so escape.” means, from this land. “Truly, I am one of the good advisers to you.”

{21. So he escaped from there, looking about in a state of fear. He said: “My Lord! Save me from the people who are wrongdoers!”

22. And when he went towards Madyan, he said: “It may be that my Lord guides me to the right way.”

23. And when he arrived at the water of Madyan, he found there a group of men watering, and besides them he found two women who were keeping back (their flocks). He said: “What is the matter with you” They said: “We cannot water (our flocks) until the shepherds take (their flocks). And our father is a very old man.”

24. So he watered (their flocks) for them, then he turned back to shade, and said: “My Lord! Truly, I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me!”}

 

Musa, peace be upon him, in Madyan, and how He watered the Flocks of the Two Women

When the man told Musa about how Firawn and his chiefs were conspiring against him, he left Egypt on his own. He was not used to being alone, because before that he had been living a life of luxury and ease, in a position of leadership. “So he escaped from there, looking about in a state of fear.” meaning, turning around and watching. “My Lord! Save me from the people who are wrongdoers!” means, from Firawn and his chiefs. It was mentioned that Allah sent to him an angel riding a horse, who showed him the way. And Allah knows best. “And when he went towards (the land of) Madyan,” means, he took a smooth and easy route — and he rejoiced because of that. “he said: “It may be that my Lord guides me to the right way.” meaning, the most straight route. And Allah did indeed do that, for He guided him to the straight path in this world and the Hereafter, and caused him to be guided and to guide others. “And when he arrived at the water (a well) of Madyan,” means, when he reached Madyan and went to drink from its water, for it had a well where shepherds used to water their flocks, “he found there a group of men watering, and besides them he found two women who were keeping back.” means, they were stopping their sheep from drinking with the sheep of those shepherds, lest some harm come to them. When Musa, peace be upon him, saw them, he felt sorry for them and took pity on them. “He said: “What is the matter with you?” meaning, ‘why do you not water your flocks with these people?’ “They said: “We cannot water until the shepherds take…’‘ meaning, ‘we cannot water our flocks until they finish.’ “And our father is a very old man.” means, ‘this is what has driven us to what you see.’ “So he watered (their flocks) for them,” “then he turned back to shade, and said: “My Lord! Truly, I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me!” Ibn Abbas, Ibn Masud and As-Suddi said: “He sat beneath a tree.” (At-Tabari 19:556) Ata’ bin As-Sa’ib said: “When Musa said: “My Lord! Truly, I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me!” the women heard him.”(At-Tabari 19:557)

{25. Then there came to him one of them, walking shyly. She said: “Verily, my father calls you that he may reward you for having watered (our flocks) for us.” So when he came to him and narrated the story, he said: “Fear you not. You have escaped from the people who are wrongdoers.”

26. And said one of them (the two women): “O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.”

27. He said: “I intend to wed one of these two daughters of mine to you, on condition that you serve me for eight years; but if you complete ten years, it will be (a favor) from you. But I intend not to place you under a difficulty. If Allah wills, you will find me one of the righteous.”

28.He (Musa) said: “That (is settled) between me and you: whichever of the two terms I fulfill, there will be no injustice to me, and Allah is Surety over what we say.”}

Musa, the Father of the Two Women, and His Marriage to One of Them

When the two women came back quickly with the sheep, their father was surprised that they returned so soon. He asked them what had happened, and they told him what Musa, peace be upon him, had done. So he sent one of them to call him to meet her father. Allah says: “Then there came to him one of them, walking shyly.” meaning, she was walking like a free woman, as it was narrated from the Commander of the faithful, Umar, may Allah be pleased with him: “She was covering herself from them with the folds of her garment.” (At-Tabari 19:558)

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Amr bin Maymun said, Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “She came walking shyly, putting her garment over her face. She was not one of those audacious women who come and go as they please.” (At-Tabari 19:559) This chain of narrators is Sahih. “She said: “Verily, my father calls you that he may reward you for having watered (our flocks) for us.” This is an example of good manners: she did not invite him directly lest he have some suspicious thoughts about her. Rather she said: “My father is inviting you so that he may reward you for watering our sheep,” i.e., give you some payment for that. “So when he came to him and narrated the story,” means, he told him about his story and why he had to leave his country. “he said: “Fear you not. You have escaped from the people who are wrongdoers.” He was saying: ‘calm down and relax, for you have left their kingdom and they have no authority in our land.’ So he said:  “You have escaped from the people who are wrongdoers.” “And said one of them: “O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.” One of the two daughters of the man said this, and it was said that she was the one who had walked behind Musa, peace be upon him. She said to her father: “O my father! Hire him!” as a shepherd to look after the sheep. Umar, Ibn Abbas, Shurayh Al-Qadi, Abu Malik, Qatadah, Muhammad bin Ishaq and others said: “When she said: “Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.” her father said to her, ‘What do you know about that’ She said to him, `He lifted a rock which could only be lifted by ten men, and when I came back with him, I walked ahead of him, but he said to me, walk behind me, and if I get confused about the route, throw a pebble so that I will know which way to go.”’ (At-Tabari 19:562-564) Abdullah Ibn Masud said, “The people who had the most discernment were three: Abu Bakr’s intuition about Umar; the companion of Yusuf when he said, ‘Make his stay comfortable’; and the companion of Musa, when she said: “O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.” (Ibn Abi Shaybah 14:574) “I intend to wed one of these two daughters of mine to you,” means, this old man asked him to take care of his flocks, then he would marry one of his two daughters to him. “on condition that you serve me for eight years; but if you complete ten years, it will be (a favor) from you.” meaning, ‘on the condition that you tend my flocks for eight years, and if you want to give me two extra years, that is up to you, but if you do not want to, then eight years is enough.’ “But I intend not to place you under a difficulty. If Allah wills, you will find me one of the righteous.” means, ‘I do not want to put pressure on you or cause you any inconvenience or argue with you.’

Allah tells us about Musa, peace be upon him: “He said: “That (is settled) between me and you: whichever of the two terms I fulfill, there will be no injustice to me, and Allah is Surety over what we say.” Musa said to his father-in-law, “The matter is as you say. You have hired me for eight years, and if I complete ten years, that is my choice, but if I do the lesser amount, I will still have fulfilled the covenant and met the conditions.” So he said: “whichever of the two terms I fulfill, there will be no injustice to me,” meaning, ‘there will be no blame on me. The complete term is permissible but it is still regarded as something extra.’ This is like the Ayah, “But whosoever hastens to leave in two days, there is no sin on him and whosoever stays on, there is no sin on him” (2:203). And the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to Hamzah bin Amr Al-Aslami, may Allah be pleased with him, who used to fast a great deal and who asked him about fasting while traveling:

“If you wish, then fast, and if you wish, do not fast.” (Al-Bukhari no.1943)

even though it is better to fast, according to the evidence of other reports. And there is evidence which indicates that Musa, peace be upon him, fulfilled the longer of the two terms.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Said bin Jubayr said: “A Jew from the people of Hirah asked me; ‘Which of the two terms did Musa fulfill?’ I said, ‘I do not know until I go to the scholar of the Arabs and ask him.’ So I went to Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, and asked him. He said: ‘He fulfilled the longer and better of them, for when a Messenger of Allah said he would do a thing, he did it.”’ This is how it was recorded by Al-Bukhari.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 375-397

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Surah An-Naml Ayat 59-93 (end)

{59. Say : “Praise and thanks be to Allah, and peace be on His servants whom He has chosen! Is Allah better, or what they ascribe as partners?”

60. Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth, and sends down for you water from the sky, whereby We cause to grow wonderful gardens full of beauty and delight? It is not in your ability to cause the growth of their trees. Is there any god with Allah? Nay, but they are a people who ascribe equals!}

The Command to praise Allah and send Blessings on His Messengers

Allah commands His Messenger to say: “Praise and thanks be to Allah,” meaning, for His innumerable blessings upon His servants and for His exalted Attributes and most beautiful Names. And He commands him to send peace upon the servants of Allah whom He chose and selected, i.e., His noble Messengers and Prophets, may the best of peace and blessings from Allah be upon them. This was the view of Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and others; the meaning of the servants He has chose is the Prophets. He said, “This like He said in the Ayah; “Glorified be your Lord, the Lord of honour and power! (He is free) from what they attribute unto Him! And peace be on the Messengers! And all the praises and thanks be to Allah, Lord of all that exists.” (37:180-182).” Ath-Thawri and As-Suddi said, “This refers to the Companions of Muhammad, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, may Allah be pleased with them all.” Something similar was also narrated from Ibn Abbas, and there is no contradiction between the two views, because they were also among the servants of Allah whom He had chosen, although the description is more befitting of the Prophets. “Is Allah better, or what they ascribe as partners (to Him)?” This is a question aimed at denouncing the idolators for their worship of other gods besides Allah.

Some more Proofs of Tawhid

Then Allah begins to explain that He is the Only One Who creates, provides and controls, as He says: “Is not He Who created the heavens?” meaning, He created those heavens which are so high and serene, with their shining stars and revolving planets. And He created the earth, with its varying heights and densities, and He created everything in it, mountains, hills, plains, rugged terrain, wildernesses, crops, trees, fruits, seas and animals of all different kinds and colours and shapes, etc. “and sends down for you water from the sky,” means, He sends it as a provision for His servants, (whereby We cause to grow wonderful gardens full of beauty and delight) means, beautiful and delightful to behold. (It is not in your ability to cause the growth of their trees.) meaning, ‘you are not able to cause their trees to grow. The One Who is able to do that is the Creator and Provider, Who is doing all this Alone and Independent of any idol and other rival.’ The idolators themselves admitted this, as Allah says in another Ayah: “And if you ask them: “Who has created them” they will certainly say: “Allah.” (31:25) “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.” (29:63) Meaning they will admit that He is the One Who does all these things, Alone, with no partner or associate, but then they worship others alongside Him, others who they admit cannot create or provide anything. But the Only One Who deserves to be worshipped is the Only One Who can create and provide, Allah says: “Is there any god with Allah?” meaning, ‘is there any god that can be worshipped alongside Allah, when it is clear to you and anyone who with reason that He is the Creator and Provider, as you yourselves admit’ Then Allah says: “Nay, but they are a people who ascribe equals (to Him)!” meaning, they describe others as being equal and comparable to Allah.

{61. Is not He Who has made the earth as a fixed abode, and has placed rivers in its midst, and has placed firm mountains therein, and has set a barrier between the two seas (of salt and sweet water)? Is there any ilah (god) with Allah? Nay, but most of them know not!}

Allah says: “Is not He Who has made the earth as a fixed abode?” meaning, stable and stationary, so that it does not move or convulse, because if it were to do so, it would not be a good place for people to live on. But by His grace and mercy, He has made it smooth and calm, and it is not shaken or moved. This is like the Ayah, “Allah, Who has made for you the earth as a dwelling place and the sky as a canopy” (40:64). “and has placed rivers in its midst,” means, He has placed rivers which are fresh and sweet, cutting through the earth, and He has made them of different types, large rivers, small rivers and some in between. He has caused them to flow in all directions, east, west, south, north, according to the needs of mankind in different areas and regions, as He has created them throughout the world and sends them their provision according to their needs. “and has placed firm mountains therein,” means, high mountains which stabilize the earth and make it steadfast, so that it does not shake. “and has set a barrier between the two seas” means, He has placed a barrier between the fresh water and the salt water, to prevent them from mixing lest they corrupt one another. Divine wisdom dictates that each of them should stay as it is meant to be. The sweet water is that which flows in rivers among mankind, and it is meant to be fresh and palatable so that it may be used to water animals and plants and fruits. The salt water is that which surrounds the continents on all sides, and its water is meant to be salty and undrinkable lest the air be corrupted by its smell, as Allah says: “And it is He Who has let free the two seas, this is palatable and sweet, and that is salty and bitter; and He has set a barrier and a complete partition between them.” (25:53) Allah says: “Is there any god with Allah?” meaning, any god who could do this, or who deserves to be worshipped Both meanings are indicated by the context. “Nay, but most of them know not!” means, in that they worship others than Allah.

{62. Is not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations Is there any god with Allah Little is that you remember!}

Allah points out that He is the One upon Whom people call in times of difficulty, and He is the One to Whom they turn when calamity strikes, as He says elsewhere: “And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon vanish from you except Him” (17:67), “Then, when harm touches you, unto Him you cry aloud for help” (16:53). Similarly, Allah says here: “Is not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him,” meaning, Who is the only One to Whom the person in desperate need turns, and the only One Who can relieve those who are stricken by harm Imam Ahmad reported that a man of Balhajim said: “O Messenger of Allah, what are you calling for?” He said:

“I am calling people to Allah Alone, the One Who, if you call on Him when harm befalls you, will relieve you; and when you are lost in the wilderness, you call on Him and He brings you back: and when drought (famine) strikes, you call on Him and He makes your crops grow.”

He said: “Advise me.” He said:

“Do not slander anyone and do not think of any good deed as insignificant, even if it is only meeting your brother with a cheerful face or emptying your vessel into the vessel of one who is asking for water. Wear your lower garment at mid-calf length, or — if you insist — let it reach your ankles, and beware of lowering the garment below the ankles along the ground, for it is a form of showing-off, and Allah does not like showing-off.” (Ahmad 5:64) [Although this hadith is not authentic most parts of the text are found in other authentic hadiths]

The Story of a Mujahid who fought for the sake of Allah

In his biography of Fatimah bint Al-Hasan Umm Ahmad Al-Ajaliyyah, Al-Hafiz bin Asakir reported that she said: “One day the disbelievers defeated the Muslims in a battle. There was a good horse which belonged to a rich man who was also righteous. The horse just stood there, so its owner said, ‘What is the matter with you? Woe to you! I was only preparing you for a day such as this.’ The horse said to him: ‘How can you expect me not to perform badly, when you delegated my feeding to the grooms, and they mistreated me and only fed me a little’ The man said, ‘I make you a promise before Allah that from this day on, only I will feed you from my own lap.’ So the horse began to run, and his owner was saved, and after that he only ever fed the horse from his own lap. This story became well known among the people, and they started to come to him to hear the story from his own lips. News of this reached the king of Byzantium, and he said: ‘A city where this man is, will be kept safe from harm.’ He wanted to bring the man to his own city, so he sent an apostate (a man who had left Islam) who was living in his city to go to him, and when he reached him, he pretended that his intentions towards Islam and its followers were good, so the Mujahid trusted him. One day they went out walking along the shore, but the apostate made a pact with another person, a follower of the Byzantine king, to come and help him take the Mujahid prisoner. When they made their move, he lifted his gaze to the sky and said, ‘O Allah! He has deceived me by swearing in Your Name, so protect me in whatever way You will.’ Then two wild animals came out and seized them, and the Mujahid came back safe and sound. ” (Tarikh Dimashq 19:489)

The Inheritance of the Earth 

“and makes you inheritors of the earth,” means, each generation inherits from the generation that came before them, one after the other, as Allah says: “if He wills, He can destroy you, and in your place make whom He wills as your successors, as He raised you from the seed of other people” (6:133), “And it is He Who has made you generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth. And He has raised you in ranks, some above others” (6:165), “And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: “Verily, I am going to place generations after generations on earth.” (2:30) meaning, people who will come after one another, as we have already stated. Allah’s saying: ”and makes you inheritors of the earth,” means, nation after nation, generation after generation, people after people. If He had willed, He could have created them all at one time, and not made some of them the offspring of others. If He had willed, He could have created them all together, as He created Adam from dust. If He had willed, He could have made some of them the offspring of others, but not caused any of them to die until they all died at one time; in this case the earth would have become constricted for them and it would be too difficult for them to live and earn a living, and they would have caused inconvenience and harm to one another. But His wisdom and decree ruled that they should be created from one soul, then their numbers should be greatly increased, so He created them on the earth and made them generation after generation, nation after nation, until their time will come to an end and there will be no one left on earth, as Allah has decreed and as He has completely counted out their numbers. Then the Resurrection will come to pass, and each person will be rewarded or punished according to his deeds. Allah says: “Is not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations Is there any god with Allah” meaning, is there anyone else able to do that, or a god with Allah worth worshipping – while you know that He is the only one who can do that, having no partners “Little is that you remember!” meaning, how little they think about that which would guide them to the truth and show them the straight path.

{63. Is not He Who guides you in the darkness of the land and the sea, and Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy? Is there any god with Allah? Exalted be Allah above all that they associate as partners!}

Allah says, “Is not He Who guides you in the darkness of the land and the sea,” meaning, by means of what He has created of heavenly and earthly signposts. This is like the Ayah, “And landmarks and by the stars, they guide themselves.” (16:16) “It is He Who has set the stars for you, so that you may guide your course with their help through the darkness of the land and the sea…” (6:97) “and Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy” meaning, ahead of the clouds which bring rain, by means of which Allah shows His mercy to His servants who are suffering drought and despair. “Is there any god with Allah Exalted be Allah above all that they associate as partners!”

{64. Is not He Who originates creation, and shall thereafter repeat it, and Who provides for you from heaven and earth Is there any god with Allah Say: “Bring forth your proofs, if you are truthful.”}

He is the One Who, by His might and power, originates creation and then repeats it. This is like the Ayat: “Verily, the punishment of your Lord is severe and painful. Verily, He it is Who begins and repeats.” (85:12-13) “And He it is Who originates the creation, then He will repeat it; and this is easier for Him.” (30:27) “and Who provides for you from heaven and earth” with the rain He sends down from the sky causing the blessings of the earth to grow, as He says elsewhere: “By the sky which gives rain, again and again. And the earth which splits.” (86:11-12) “He knows that which goes into the earth and that which comes forth from it, and that which descends from the heaven and that which ascends to it” (34:2). Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, sends down water from the sky as a blessing, and causes it to penetrate the earth, and then come forth as springs. After that, by means of the water He brings forth all kinds of crops, fruits and flowers, in all their different forms and colours. “Eat and pasture your cattle; verily, in this are signs for men of understanding” (20:54). Allah says: “Is there any god with Allah” meaning, who did this Or, according to another interpretation: after this “who could be worth worship” “Say: “Bring forth your proofs, if you are truthful.” Produce the evidence of that. But it is known that they have no proof or evidence, as Allah says: “And whoever invokes besides Allah, any other god, of whom he has no proof; then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely, the disbelievers will not be successful.” (23:117)

{65. Say: “None in the heavens and the earth knows the Unseen except Allah, nor can they perceive when they shall be resurrected.”

66. Nay, their knowledge will perceive that in the Hereafter. Nay, they are in doubt about it. Nay, they are in complete blindness about it.}

The One Who Knows the Unseen is Allah

Allah commands His Messenger to inform all of creation that no one among the dwellers of heaven and earth knows the Unseen, except Allah. “except Allah” This is an absolute exception, meaning that no one knows this besides Allah, He is alone in that regard, having no partner in that knowledge. This is like the Ayat: “And with Him are the keys of the Unseen, none knows them but He” (6:59). “Verily, Allah, with Him is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain” (31:34). until the end of the Surah. And there are many Ayat which mention similar things. “nor can they perceive when they shall be resurrected.” That is, the created beings who dwell in the heavens and on earth do not know when the Hour will occur, as Allah says: “Heavy is its burden through the heavens and the earth. It shall not come upon you except all of a sudden” (7: 187). meaning, it is a grave matter for the dwellers of heaven and earth. “Nay, their knowledge will perceive that in the Hereafter. Nay, they are in doubt about it.” means their knowledge and amazement stops short of knowing its time. Other scholars read this with the meaning “their knowledge is all the same with regard to that,” which reflects the meaning of the Hadith in Sahih Muslim which states that the Messenger of Allah said to Jibril, when the latter asked him when the Hour would come: “The one who is being asked about it does not know any more than the one who is asking.” (Muslim 1:36) In other words, they were both equal in the fact that their knowledge did not extend that far. “Nay, they are in doubt about it.” This refers to the disbelievers in general as Allah says elsewhere: (And they will be set before your Lord in rows, “and Allah will say” “Now indeed, you have come to Us as We created you the first time. Nay, but you thought that We had appointed no meeting for you (with Us). ” (18:48) i.e., the disbelievers among you. By the same token, Allah says here: “Nay, they are in doubt about it.” meaning, they doubt that it will come to pass. They are blind and completely ignorant about it.

{67. And those who disbelieve say: “When we have become dust — we and our fathers — shall we really be brought forth”

68. “Indeed we were promised this — we and our forefathers before, verily, these are nothing but tales of ancients.”

69. Say to them: “Travel in the land and see how has been the end of the criminals.”

70. And grieve you not over them, nor be straitened (in distress) because of what they plot.}

Scepticism about the Resurrection and Its Refutation

Allah tells us about the idolators who deny the Resurrection, considering it extremely unlikely that bodies will be re-created after they have become bones and dust. Then He says: “Indeed we were promised this — we and our forefathers before” meaning, ‘we and our forefathers have been hearing this for a long time, but in reality, we have never seen it happen.’ “verily, these are nothing but tales of ancients.” the promises that bodies will be restored are “nothing but tales of ancients.” meaning that they were taken by the people who came before us from books which were handed down from one to the other, but they have no basis in reality. Responding to their thoughts of disbelief and their belief that there would be no Resurrection, Allah said, (Say) `O Muhammad, to these people,’ “Travel in the land and see how has been the end of the criminals.” meaning, those who denied the Messengers and their message of the Resurrection and other matters. See how the punishment and vengeance of Allah struck them and how Allah saved from among them the noble Messengers and the believers who followed them. This will be an indication of the truth of the Message brought by the Messengers. Then, to comfort the Prophet , Allah says: “And grieve you not over them” meaning, `but do not feel sorry for them or kill yourself with regret for them,’ “nor be straitened because of what they plot.” means, ‘because they plot against you and reject what you have brought, for Allah will help and support you, and cause your religion to prevail over those who oppose you and stubbornly resist you in the east and in the west.’

{71. And they say: “When is this promise, if you are truthful?”

72. Say: “Perhaps that which you wish to hasten on, may be close behind you.”

73. Verily, your Lord is full of grace for mankind, yet most of them do not give thanks.

74. And verily, your Lord knows what their breasts conceal and what they reveal.

75. And there is nothing hidden in the heaven and the earth but it is in a Clear Book.}

Allah tells us about how the idolators asked about the Day of Resurrection, but thought it unlikely that it would ever come to pass. “And they say: “When (will) this promise (be fulfilled), if you are truthful” Allah said, responding to them: (Say) ‘O Muhammad,’ “Perhaps that which you wish to hasten on, may be close behind you.” Ibn Abbas said, “That which you wish to hasten on has come close to you, or some of it has come close.” (At-Tabari 19:492) This was also the view of Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Ata Al-Khurasani, Qatadah and As-Suddi. (At-Tabari 19:492) This is also what is meant in the Ayat:  “And they say: “When will that be?” Say: “Perhaps it is near!” (17:51) “They ask you to hasten on the torment. And verily, Hell, of a surety, will encompass the disbelievers” (29:54). “may be close behind you.” means, it is being hastened for you. This was reported from Mujahid. (At-Tabari 19:492)

Then Allah says: “Verily, your Lord is full of grace for mankind,” meaning, He abundantly bestows His blessings on them even though they wrong themselves, yet despite that they do not give thanks for those blessings, except for a few of them. “And verily, your Lord knows what their breasts conceal and what they reveal.” means, He knows what is hidden in their hearts just as He knows what is easily visible. “It is the same (to Him) whether any of you conceals his speech or declares it openly” (13:10), “He knows the secret and that which is yet more hidden” (20:7), “Surely, even when they cover themselves with their garments, He knows what they conceal and what they reveal” (11:5).

Then Allah tells us that He is the Knower of the unseen in the heavens and on earth, and that He is the Knower of the unseen and the seen, i.e., that which is unseen by His servants and that which they can see. And Allah says: “and there is nothing hidden” Ibn Abbas said, “This means, there is nothing (At-Tabari 19:494) “in the heaven and the earth but it is in a Clear Book.” This is like the Ayah, “Know you not that Allah knows all that is in the heaven and on the earth Verily, it is (all) in the Book. Verily, that is easy for Allah.” (22:70)

{76. Verily, this Qur’an narrates to the Children of Israel most of that in which they differ.

77. And truly, it is a guide and a mercy for the believers.

78. Verily, your Lord will decide between them by His judgement. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing.

79. So, put your trust in Allah; surely, you are on manifest truth.

80. Verily, you cannot make the dead to hear nor can you make the deaf to hear the call, when they flee, turning their backs.

81. Nor can you lead the blind out of their error. You can only make to hear those who believe in Our Ayat, so they submit (became Muslims).}

 

The Qur’an tells the Story of the Differences among the Children of Israel, and Allah judges between Them

Allah tells us about His Book and the guidance, proof and criterion between right and wrong that it contains. He tells us about the Children of Israel, who were the bearers of the Tawrah and Injil. “most of that in which they differ.” such as their different opinions about `Isa. The Jews lied about him while the Christians exaggerated in praise for him, so the Qur’an came with the moderate word of truth and justice: that he was one of the servants of Allah, and one of His noble Prophets and Messengers, may the best of peace and blessings be upon him, as the Qur’an says: “Such is Isa, son of Maryam. (It is) a statement of truth, about which they doubt” (19:34). “And truly, it is a guide and a mercy for the believers.” meaning, it is guidance for the hearts of those who believe in it, and a mercy to them. Then Allah says: “Verily, your Lord will decide between them” meaning, on the Day of Resurrection, “by His judgement. And He is the All-Mighty,” means, in His vengeance, “the All-Knowing.” Who knows all that His servants do and say.

The Command to put One’s Trust in Allah and to convey the Message

“So, put your trust in Allah” in all your affairs, and convey the Message of your Lord. “surely, you are on manifest truth.” meaning, you are following manifest truth, even though you are opposed by those who oppose you because they are doomed. The Word of your Lord has been justified against them, so that they will not believe even if all the signs are brought to them. Allah says: “Verily, you cannot make the dead to hear” meaning, you cannot cause them to hear anything that will benefit them. The same applies to those over whose hearts is a veil and in whose ears is deafness of disbelief. Allah says: “nor can you make the deaf to hear the call, when they flee, turning their backs. Nor can you lead the blind out of their error. You can only make to hear those who believe in Our Ayat, so they submit (became Muslims).” meaning, those who have hearing and insight will respond to you, those whose hearing and sight are of benefit to their hearts and who are humble towards Allah and to the Message that comes to them through the mouths of the Messengers, may peace be upon them.

{82. And when the Word is fulfilled against them, We shall bring out from the earth a beast for them, to speak to them because mankind believed not with certainty in Our Ayat.}

The Emergence of the Beast of the Earth

This is the beast which will emerge at the end of time, when mankind has become corrupt and neglected the commands of Allah and changed the true religion. Then Allah will cause a beast to emerge from the earth. It was said that it will be brought from Makkah, or from somewhere else, as we shall discuss in detail below, if Allah wills. The beast will speak to people about matters. Ibn Abbas, Al-Hasan and Qatadah said, and it was also narrated from Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, that it will speak words, meaning, it will address them. (At-Tabari 19:500)

Many Hadiths and reports have been narrated about the beast, and we will narrate as many of them as Allah enables us to, for He is the One Whose help we seek.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Hudhayfah bin Asid Al-Ghifari said, “The Messenger of Allah came out from his room while we were discussing the matter of the Hour. He said:

“The Hour will not come until you see ten signs: the rising of the sun from the west; the smoke (Ad-Dukhan); emergence of the beast; the emergence of Ya’juj and Ma’juj; the appearance of `Isa bin Maryam, upon him be peace; the Dajjal; and three land cave-ins, one in the west, one in the east and one in the Arabian Peninsula; and a Fire which will emerge from the midst of Yemen, and will drive or gather the people, stopping with them whenever they stop for the night or to rest during the day.” (Ahmad 4:6)

This was also recorded by Muslim and the Sunan compilers from Hudhayfah, in a Mawquf  [A narration reaching to a Companion only] report. At-Tirmidhi said, “It is Hasan Sahih.” (Muslim 4:2225) It was also recorded by Muslim from Hudhayfah in a Marfu report. (Muslim 4:2226) [Marfu meaning a Hadith referred to the Prophet, peace be upon him] And Allah knows best.

Another Hadith

Muslim bin Al-Hajjaj recorded that Abdullah bin Amr said, “I memorized a Hadith from the Messenger of Allah which I never forgot afterwards. I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, say:

“The first of the signs to appear will be the rising of the sun from the west, and the emergence of the beast to mankind in the forenoon. Whichever of them appears first, the other will follow close behind it.” (Muslim 4:2260)

Another Hadith

In his Sahih, Muslim 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:

“Hasten to do good deeds before six things appear: the rising of the sun from the west; the smoke; the Dajjal; the beast; the (death) of one of your favorite, or general affliction.”

This was recorded by Muslim alone. (Muslim 4:2267) Muslim also recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Hasten to do good deeds before six things appear: the Dajjal; the smoke; the beast of the earth; the rising of the sun from the west; and the (death of one of your favorite) or general affliction.” (Muslim 4:2267)

Another Hadith

Ibn Majah recorded from Anas bin Malik that the Messenger of Allah peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Hasten to do good deeds before six things appear: the rising of the sun from the west; the smoke; the beast; the Dajjal; and the (death of one of your favorite) or general affliction.”

He was the only one who recorded this version. (Ibn Majah 2:1348)

Another Hadith

Abu Dawud At -Tayalisi recorded f rom Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“A beast will emerge from the earth, and with it will be the staff of Musa and the ring of Sulayman, peace be upon them both. It will strike the nose of the disbelievers with the staff, and it will make the face of the believer bright with the ring, until when people gather to eat, they will be able to recognize the believers from the disbelievers.” (At-Tayalisi 334)

It also was recorded by Imam Ahmad, with the wording:

“It will strike the nose of the disbelievers with the ring, and will make the face of the believer bright with the staff, until when people gather for a meal, they will say to one another, O believer, or O disbeliever.” (Ahmad 2:295)

It was also recorded by Ibn Majah. (Ibn Majah 2:1351)

Ibn Jurayj reported that Ibn Az-Zubayr described the beast and said, “Its head is like the head of a bull, its eyes are like the eyes of a pig, its ears are like the ears of an elephant, its horns are like the horns of a stag, its neck is like the neck of an ostrich, its chest is like the chest of a lion, its color is like the colour of a tiger, its haunches are like the haunches of a cat, its tail is like the tail of a ram, and its legs are like the legs of a camel. Between each pair of its joints is a distance of twelve cubits. It will bring out with it the staff of Musa and the ring of Sulayman. There will be no believer left without it making a white spot on his face, which will spread until all his face is shining white as a result; and there will be no disbeliever left without it making a black spot on his face, which will spread until all his face is black as a result, then when the people trade with one another in the marketplace, they will say, `How much is this, O believer’ `How much is this, O disbeliever’ And when the members of one household sit down together to eat, they will know who is a believer and who is a disbeliever. Then the beast will say: `O so-and-so, enjoy yourself, for you are among the people of Paradise.’ And it will say: `O so-and-so, you are among the people of Hell,’ This is what Allah says: “And when the Word is fulfilled against them, We shall bring out from the earth a beast for them, to speak to them because mankind believed not with certainty in Our Ayat.” (Al-Baghwi 3:429)

{83. And (remember) the Day when We shall gather out of every nation a Fawj of those who denied Our Ayat, and they shall be driven,

84. Till, when they come, He will say: “Did you deny My Ayat whereas you comprehended them not by knowledge, or what was it that you used to do”

85. And the Word will be fulfilled against them, because they have done wrong, and they will be unable to speak.

86. See they not that We have made the night for them to rest therein, and the day sight-giving Verily, in this are Ayat for the people who believe.}

Gathering the Wrongdoers on the Day of Resurrection

Allah tells us about the Day of Resurrection when the wrongdoers who disbelieved in the signs and Messengers of Allah will be gathered before Allah, so that He will ask them about what they did in this world, rebuking, scolding and belittling them. “And the Day when We shall gather out of every nation, a Fawj” means, from every people and generation a group “of those who denied Our Ayat”. This is like the Ayat: “Assemble those who did wrong, together with their companions (from the devils).” (37:22) “And when the souls are joined with their bodies” (81:7). “and they shall be driven” Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “They will be pushed.” (At-Tabari 19:501) Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said: “They will be driven.” (At-Tabari 19:438)  “Till, when they come,” and stand before Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, in the place of reckoning, “He will say: “Did you deny My Ayat whereas you comprehended them not by knowledge, or what was it that you used to do” meaning they will be asked about their beliefs and their deeds. Since they are among the doomed and, as Allah says: “He neither believed nor performed Salah! But on the contrary, he denied and turned away!” (75:31-32) Then the proof will be established against them and they will have no excuse whatsoever, as Allah says: “That will be a Day when they shall not speak. And they will not be permitted to put forth any excuse” (77:35-36). Similarly, Allah says here: “And the Word will be fulfilled against them, because they have done wrong, and they will be unable to speak.” They will be stunned and speechless, unable to give any answer. This is because they wronged themselves in the world, and now they have returned to the One Who sees the unseen and the seen, from Whom nothing can be hidden.

Then Allah points out His complete power, immense authority and greatness, all dictating that He is to be obeyed and that His commands must be followed, and that the message of inescapable truth brought by His Prophets must be believed in. Allah says: “See they not that We have made the night for them to rest therein,” Due to the darkness of the night they halt their activities and calm themselves down, to recover from the exhausting efforts of the day. “and the day sight-giving” meaning filled with light, so that they can work and earn a living, and travel and engage in business, and do other things that they need to do. “Verily, in this are Ayat for the people who believe.”

{87. And (remember) the Day on which the Trumpet (Sur) will be blown — and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth, will be terrified except him whom Allah wills. And all shall come to Him, humbled.

88. And you will see the mountains and think them solid, but they shall pass away as the passing away of the clouds. The work of Allah, Who perfected all things, verily, He is well-acquainted with what you do.

89. Whoever brings a good deed, will have better than its worth; and they will be safe from the terror on that Day.

90. And whoever brings an evil deed, they will be cast down on their faces in the Fire. (And it will be said to them) “Are you being recompensed anything except what you used to do”}

The Terrors of the Day of Resurrection, the Rewards for Good Deeds and the Punishments for Evil Deed

Allah tells us about the terrors of the Day when the Sur will be blown. The Sur, as described in the Hadith, is, “a horn which is blown into.” According to the Hadith about the Sur (Trumpet), it is (the angel) Israfil who will blow into it by the command of Allah, may He be exalted. He will blow into it for the first time, for a long time. This will signal the end of the life of this world, and the Hour will come upon the most evil of people ever to live. Everyone who is in the heavens and on earth will be terrified, “except him whom Allah wills.” these are the martyrs, for they are alive, with their Lord, and being provided for.

Imam Muslim bin Al-Hajjaj recorded that Abdullah bin Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, said that a man came to him and said, “What is this Hadith that you are narrating, that the Hour will come upon such and such people?” He said, “Subhan Allah or La Ilaha Illallah (or something similar), I had decided that I would not narrate anything to anyone now. I had only said that after a little while, you will see a major event which will destroy the House [the Ka`bah], and such and such will happen.” Then he said, “The Messenger of Allah said: “The Dajjal will emerge in my Ummah, and will remain for forty — I do not know whether he said forty days, or forty months, or forty years — then Allah will send `Isa son of Maryam, who looks like `Urwah bin Mas`ud, and he will search for him and destroy him. Then mankind will remain for seven years during which there will not be any enmity between any two people. Then Allah will send a cool wind from the direction of Syria, and no one will be left on the face of the earth who has even a speck of goodness or faith in his heart, but it will take him. Even if he entered into the heart of a mountain, the wind would follow him and seize him.” He said, “I heard it from the Messenger of Allah who said: “Then the most evil of people will remain, and they will be as nimble as birds and will be more temperamental than wild beasts. They will not recognize anything good or denounce anything evil. The Shaytan will appear to them and will say, “Will you do as I tell you” They will say, “What do you command us to do” He will command them to worship idols but in spite of this their provision will be plentiful and they will lead comfortable lives. Then the Sur (Trumpet) will be blown, and no one will hear it but he will tilt his head to hear the sound. The first person to hear it will be a man who is setting up the tank for watering his camels. He will fall down, and all the other people will also fall down. Then Allah will send — or send down — rain like dew — or he said, like shade (Nu’man was the one who was not sure) — from which will grow the bodies of the people. Then the Trumpet will be blown again, and they will get up and look around. Then it will be said: “O mankind! Go to your Lord!” And they will be stopped, for they are to be questioned. Then it will be said: “Bring forth the people who are to be sent to the Fire.” It will be asked: “How many are they” It will be said, “Out of every thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine.” That will be the Day which will make the children grey-headed, and that will be the Day when the Shin shall be uncovered.” His saying; “Then the Sur (Trumpet) will be blown, and no one will hear it but he will tilt his head to hear the sound.” means that they will tilt their heads so that they can better hear the sound coming from the heavens. That is the blast of the Sur which will terrify everyone, then after that will come the blast which will cause them to die, then the blast which will resurrect them to meet the Lord of the worlds — this is when all of the creation will be brought forth from their graves. Allah says: “And all shall come to Him, humbled.” meaning, humbling themselves and obeying Him, and no one will go against His command. This is like the Ayat: “On the Day when He will call you, and you will answer with His praise and obedience” (17:52). “Then afterwards when He will call you by a single call, behold, you will come out from the earth” (30:25).  Allah says: “The Day when they will come out of the graves quickly as racing to a goal.” (70:43) “And you will see the mountains and think them solid, but they shall pass away as the passing away of the clouds.” (27:88) meaning, you will see them as if they are fixed and as if they will remain as they are, but they will pass away as the passing away of the clouds, i.e., they will move away from their places. This is like the Ayat: “On the Day when the heaven will shake with a dreadful shaking, And the mountains will move away with a (horrible) movement.” (52:9-10) “And they ask you concerning the mountains: say, “My Lord will blast them and scatter them as particles of dust. Then He shall leave them as a level smooth plain. You will see therein nothing crooked or curved.” (20:105-107), “And (remember) the Day We shall cause the mountains to pass away, and you will see the earth as a leveled plain.” (18:47). “The work of Allah, Who perfected all things,” means, He does that by His great power. “Who perfected all things” means, He has perfected all that He has created, and has fashioned it according to His wisdom. “verily, He is well-acquainted with what you do” means, He knows all that His servants do, good or evil, and He will reward or punish them accordingly. Then Allah describes the state of the blessed and the doomed on that Day, and says: “Whoever brings a good deed, will have better than its worth.” Qatadah said, “That is sincerely for Allah alone.” (At-Tabarani 19:508) Allah has explained elsewhere in the Qur’an that He will give ten like it. “and they will be safe from the terror on that Day.” This is like the Ayah, “The greatest terror will not grieve them” (21:103) and Allah said: “Is he who is cast into the Fire better or he who comes secure on the Day of Resurrection” (41:40), “and they will reside in the high dwellings in peace and security” (34:37). “And whoever brings an evil deed, they will be cast down on their faces in the Fire.” means, whoever comes to Allah with evil deeds, and with no good deeds to his credit, or whose evil deeds outweigh his good deeds. Allah says: “(And it will be said to them) “Are you being recompensed anything except what you used to do”

{91. I have been commanded only to worship the Lord of this city, Who has sanctified it and to Whom belongs everything. And I am commanded to be from among the Muslims.

92. And that I should recite the Qur’an, then whosoever receives guidance, receives it for the good of himself; and whosoever goes astray, say (to him): “I am only one of the warners.”

93. And say: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah. He will show you His Ayat, and you shall recognize them. And your Lord is not unaware of what you do.”}

The Command to worship Allah and to call People with the Qur’an

Allah commands His Messenger to say: “I have been commanded only to worship the Lord of this city, Who has sanctified it and to Whom belongs everything.” This is like the Ayah, “Say: “O you mankind! If you are in doubt as to my religion, then (know that) I will never worship those whom you worship besides Allah. But I worship Allah Who causes you to die.” (10:104) The fact that the word “Rabb” (Lord) is connected to the word city (in the phrase “the Lord of this city”) is a sign of honor and divine care for that city. This is like the Ayah, “So let them worship the Lord of this House (the Ka`bah), Who has fed them against hunger, and has made them safe from fear” (106:3-4) “Who has sanctified it” means, the One Who made it a sanctuary by His Law and by His decree, making it sanctified. It was recorded in the Two Sahihs that Ibn Abbas said: “On the day of the conquest of Makkah, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Verily, this city was made sacred by Allah the day He created the heavens and the earth, so it is sacred by the sanctity of Allah until the Day of Resurrection. Its thorny bushes should not be cut, its game should not be chased, and its lost property should not be picked up except by one who would announce it publicly and none is allowed to uproot its thorny shrubs…” (Fath Al-Bari 4:56) This was reported in Sahih, Hasan, Musnad narrarations, through various routes, by such a large group that it is absolutely unquestionable (Muslim 2:986), as has been explained in the appropriate place in the book Al-Ahkam, to Allah is the praise and thanks. “and to Whom belongs everything.” This is a statement of general application following a specific statement, i.e., He is the Lord of this city, and the Lord and Sovereign of all things, there is no god worthy of worship besides Him. “And I am commanded to be from among the Muslims.” means, those who believe in Allah alone, who are sincere towards Him and who obediently follow His commands. “And that I should recite the Qur’an,) means, to people, so as to convey it to them. This is like the Ayah, (This is what We recite to you of the Ayat and the Wise Reminder.” (3:58) “We recite to you some of the news of Musa and Fir`awn in truth.” (28:3) meaning, ‘I am a conveyer and a warner.’ “then whosoever receives guidance, receives it for the good of himself; and whosoever goes astray, say (to him): “I am only one of the warners.” meaning, ‘I have an example to follow in the Messengers who warned their people, and did what they had to do in order to convey the Message to them and fulfil the covenant they had made.’ Allah will judge their nations to whom they were sent, as He says: “your duty is only to convey and on Us is the reckoning” (13: 40). “But you are only a warner. And Allah is a Protector over all thing” (11:12). “And say: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah. He will show you His Ayat (signs), and you shall recognize them.” means, praise be to Allah, Who does not punish anyone except after establishing plea against him, warning him [and leaving him with no excuse]. Allah says: “He will show you His Ayat (signs), and you shall recognize them.” This is like the Ayah, “We will show them Our signs in the universe, and in themselves, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the truth” (41:53). “And your Lord is not unaware of what you do.” means, on the contrary, He witnesses and sees all things. It was recorded that Imam Ahmad, may Allah have mercy upon him, used to recite the following two lines of verse, whether they were written by him or someone else: “If you are alone one day, do not say, `I am alone.’ Rather say, `Someone is watching me.’ Do not think that Allah will let His attention wander for even an instant, or that anything is hidden from Him.”

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat An-Naml. All praise and thanks be to Allah.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 338-374 (End)

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Surah Naml Ayat 32-58

{32. She said: “O chiefs! Advise me in case of mine. I decide no case till you are present with me.”

33.They said: “We have great strength, and great ability for war, but it is for you to command; so think over what you will command.”

34. She said: “Verily, kings, when they enter a town, they destroy it and make the most honorable among its people the lowest. And thus they do.”

35. “But verily, I am going to send him a present, and see with what (answer) the messengers return.”}

Bilqis consults with Her Chiefs

When she read Sulayman’s letter to them and consulted with them about this news, she said: “O chiefs! Advise me in (this) case of mine. I decide no case till you are present with me.” meaning, ‘until you come together and offer me your advice.’ “They said: “We have great strength, and great ability for war…” They reminded her of their great numbers, preparedness and strength, then they referred the matter to her and said: “but it is for you to command; so think over what you will command.” meaning, ‘we have the power and strength, if you want to go to him and fight him.’ The matter is yours to decide, so instruct us as you see fit and we will obey. Ibn Abbas said: “Bilqis said: “Verily, kings, when they enter a town, they destroy it and make the most honorable amongst its people the lowest.” And Allah said: “And thus they do.” (At-Tabari 19:455) Then she resorted to peaceful means, seeking a truce and trying to placate Sulayman, and said: “But verily, I am going to send him a present, and see with what the messengers return.” meaning, ‘I will send him a gift befitting for one of his status, and will wait and see what his response will be. Perhaps he will accept that and leave us alone, or he will impose a tax which we can pay him every year, so that he will not fight us and wage war against us.’ Qatadah said: “May Allah have mercy on her and be pleased with her – how wise she was as a Muslim and (before that) as an idolator! She understood how gift-giving has a good effect on people.” Ibn Abbas and others said: “She said to her people, if he accepts the gift, he is a king, so fight him; but if he does not accept it, he is a Prophet, so follow him.” (At-Tabari 19:455)

{36. So, when (the messengers with the gift) came to Sulayman, he said: “Will you help me in wealth What Allah has given me is better than that which He has given you! Nay, you rejoice in your gift!”

37.”Go back to them. We verily, shall come to them with armies that they cannot resist, and we shall drive them out from there in disgrace, and they will be abased.”}

The Gift and the Response of Sulayman

More than one of the scholars of Tafsir among the Salaf and others stated that she sent him a huge gift of gold, jewels, pearls and other things. It is apparent that Sulayman, peace be upon him, did not even look at what they brought at all and did not pay any attention to it, but he turned away and said, rebuking them: “Will you help me in wealth?” meaning, ‘are you trying to flatter me with wealth so that I will leave you alone with your Shirk and your kingdom’ “What Allah has given me is better than that which He has given you!” means, “what Allah has given to me of power, wealth and troops, is better than that which you have.” Nay, you rejoice in your gift!” means, ‘you are the ones who are influenced by gifts and presents; we will accept nothing from you except Islam or the sword.’ “Go back to them” means, with their gift, “We verily, shall come to them with armies that they cannot resist,” they have no power to match them or resist them. “and we shall drive them out from there in disgrace,” `we shall drive them out in disgrace from their land.’ “and they will be abased.” means, humiliated and expelled.

When her messengers came back to her with her undelivered gift, and told her what Sulayman said, she and her people paid heed and obeyed him. She came to him with her troops in submission and humility, honoring Sulayman and intending to follow him in Islam. When Sulayman, peace be upon him, realized that they were coming to him, he rejoiced greatly.

{38. He said: “O chiefs! Which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me surrendering themselves in obedience (as Muslims)”

39. An Ifrit from the Jinn said: “I will bring it to you before you rise from your place. And verily, I am indeed strong and trustworthy for such work.”

40. One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture, said: “I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!” Then when he saw it placed before him, he said: “This is by the grace of my Lord – to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for himself; and whoever is ungrateful, certainly my Lord is Rich, Bountiful.”}

How the Throne of Bilqis was brought in an Instant

Muhammad bin Ishaq reported from Yazid bin Ruman: “When the messengers returned with word of what Sulayman said, she said: ‘By Allah, I knew he was more than a king, and that we have no power to match him, and that we can gain nothing by being stubborn with him. So, she sent word to him saying: “I am coming to you with the leaders of my people to see what you will instruct us to do and what you are calling us to of your religion.” Then she issued commands that her throne, which was made of gold and inlaid with rubies, chrysolite and pearls, should be placed in the innermost of seven rooms, one within the other, and all the doors should be locked. Then she told her deputy whom she was leaving in charge, “Take care of my people and my throne, and do not let anyone approach it or see it until I come back to you.” Then she set off to meet Sulayman with twelve thousand of her commanders from the leaders of Yemen, under each of whose command were many thousands of men. Sulayman sent the Jinn to bring him news of her progress and route every day and night, then when she drew near, he gathered together the Jinns and humans who were under his control and said: “O chiefs! Which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me surrendering themselves in obedience (as Muslims)?” (At-Tabari 19:520) An Ifrit from the Jinn said” Mujahid said, “A giant Jinn.” Abu Salih said, “It was as if he was a mountain.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 6:359) “I will bring it to you before you rise from your place.” Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Before you get up from where you are sitting.” (Al-Baghawi 3:420)

As-Suddi and others said: “He used to sit to pass judgements and rulings over the people, and to eat, from the beginning of the day until noon.” “And verily, I am indeed strong and trustworthy for such work.” Ibn Abbas said: “Strong enough to carry it and trustworthy with the jewels it contains. Sulayman, upon him be peace, said, “I want it faster than that.” (Al-Baghawi 3:420) From this it seems that Sulayman wanted to bring this throne as a demonstration of the greatness of the power and authority that Allah had bestowed upon him and the troops that He had subjugated to him. Power such as had never been given to anyone else, before or since, so that this would furnish proof of his prophethood before Bilqis and her people, because this would be a great and wondrous thing, if he brought her throne as if he were in her country, before they could come to it, although it was hidden and protected by so many locked doors. When Sulayman said, “I want it faster than that, “One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said” Ibn Abbas said, “This was Asif, the scribe of Sulayman.” It was also narrated by Muhammad bin Ishaq from Yazid bin Ruman that he was Asif bin Barkhiya’ and he was a truthful believer who knew the Greatest Name of Allah. (Al-Baghawi 3:420)

Qatadah said: “He was a believer among the humans, and his name was Asif.” “I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!” Meaning, lift your gaze and look as far as you can, and before you get tired and blink, you will find it before you. Then he got up, performed ablution and prayed to Allah, may He be exalted. Mujahid said: “He said, O Owner of majesty and honor.” (At-Tabari 19:466) When Sulayman and his chiefs saw it before them, “he said: “This is by the grace of my Lord…” meaning, ‘this is one of the blessings which Allah has bestowed upon me.’ “to test whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for himself” This is like the Ayat: “Whosoever does righteous good deed, it is for himself; and whosoever does evil, it is against himself.” (41:46) “and whosoever does righteous good deed, then such will prepare a good place for themselves.” (30:44). “and whoever is ungrateful, certainly my Lord is Rich, Bountiful.” He has no need of His servants or their worship. “Bountiful” He is Bountiful in and of Himself, even if no one were to worship Him. His greatness does not depend on anyone. This is like what Musa said: “If you disbelieve, you and all on earth together, then verily, Allah is Rich, Owner of all praise.” (14:8). It is recorded in Sahih Muslim: “Allah, may He be exalted, says: “O My servants, if the first of you and the last of you, mankind and Jinn alike, were all to be as pious as the most pious among you, that would not add to My dominion in the slightest. O My servants, if the first of you and the last of you, mankind and Jinn alike, were all to be as evil as the most evil one among you, that would not detract from My dominion in the slightest. O My servants, these are deeds which I am recording for you, and I will judge you according to them, so whoever finds something good, let him praise Allah, and whoever finds otherwise, let him blame no one but himself.” (Muslim 4:1994)

{41. He said: “Disguise her throne for her that we may see whether she will be guided, or she will be one of those not guided.”

42. So when she came, it was said, “Is your throne like this?” She said: “As though it were the very same.” And he said, “Knowledge was bestowed on us before her, and we had submitted to Allah (as Muslims).”

43. And Saddaha that which she used to worship besides Allah has prevented her (from Islam), for she was of a disbelieving people.

44. It was said to her: “Enter As-Sarh,” but when she saw it, she thought it was a pool, and she (tucked up her clothes) uncovering her legs. Sulayman said: “Verily, it is a Sarh Mumarrad of Qawarir.” She said: “My Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself, and I submit, together with Sulayman to Allah, the Lord of all that exits.”}

 

The Test of Bilqis

When Sulayman brought the throne of Bilqis before she and her people arrived, he issued orders that some of its features should be altered, so that he could test her and see whether she recognized it and how composed she would be when she saw it. Would she hasten to say either that it was her throne or that it was not So he said: “Disguise her throne for her that we may see whether she will be guided, or she will be one of those not guided.” Ibn Abbas said: “Remove some of its adornments and parts.” (At-Tabari 19:469) Mujahid said: “He issued orders that it should be changed, so whatever was red should be made yellow and vice versa, and whatever was green should be made red, so everything was altered.” `Ikrimah said, “They added some things and took some things away.” Qatadah said, “It was turned upside down and back to front, and some things were added and some things were taken away.” (At-Tabari 19:469)  “So when she came, it was said: “Is your throne like this?” Her throne, which had been altered and disguised, with some things added and others taken away, was shown to her. She was wise and steadfast, intelligent and strong-willed. She did not hasten to say that this was her throne, because it was far away from her. Neither did she hasten to say that it was not her throne, when she saw that some things had been altered and changed. She said, “(It is) as though it were the very same.” This is the ultimate in intelligence and strong resolve.

“Knowledge was bestowed on us before her, and we had submitted to Allah.” Mujahid said, “This was spoken by Sulayman.” (At-Tabari 19:471) “And Saddaha that which she used to worship besides Allah has prevented her, for she was of a disbelieving people.” This is a continuation of the words of Sulayman – according to the opinion of Mujahid and Said bin Jubayr, may Allah be pleased with them both – i.e., Sulayman said: “Knowledge was bestowed on us before her, and we had submitted to Allah.” and what stopped her from worshipping Allah alone was “that which she used to worship besides Allah, for she was of a disbelieving people.” What Mujahid and Said said is good; it was also the view of Ibn Jarir. (At-Tabari 19:472) Then Ibn Jarir said, “It could be that the subject of the verb. “And Saddaha” refers to Sulayman or to Allah, so that the phrase now means: “She would not worship anything over than Allah.” “for she was of a disbelieving people.” I say: the opinion of Mujahid is supported by the fact that she declared her Islam after she entered the Sarh, as we shall see below. “It was said to her: “Enter As-Sarh” but when she saw it, she thought it was a pool, and she (tucked up her clothes) uncovering her legs.” Sulayman had commanded the Shayatin to build for her a huge palace of glass beneath which water was flowing. Anyone who did not know the nature of the building would think that it was water, but in fact there was a layer of glass between a person walking and the water.

Verily, it is a Sarh Mumarrad of Qawarir
Sarh means a palace or any lofty construction. Allah says of Firawn – may Allah curse him — that he said to his minister Haman: “Build me a Sarh that I may arrive at the ways.” (40:36-37) Sarh is also used to refer to the high constructed palaces in Yemen. Mumarrad means sturdily constructed and smooth. “of Qawarir” means, made of glass, i.e., it was built with smooth surfaces. Marid is a fortress in Dawmat Al-Jandal. What is meant here is that Sulayman built a huge, lofty palace of glass for this queen, in order to show her the greatness of his authority and power. When she saw for herself what Allah had given him and how majestic his position was, she submitted to the command of Allah and acknowledged that he was a noble Prophet, so she submitted to Allah and said: “My Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself,” meaning, by her previous disbelief and Shirk and by the fact that she and her people had worshipped the sun instead of Allah. “and I submit, together with Sulayman to Allah, the Lord of all that exists.” meaning, following the religion of Sulayman, worshipping Allah alone with no partner or associate, Who created everything and measured it exactly according to its due measurements.

{45. And indeed We sent to Thamud their brother Salih, (saying): “Worship Allah.” Then look! They became two parties quarreling with each other.

46. He said: “O my people! Why do you seek to hasten the evil before the good Why seek you not the forgiveness of Allah, that you may receive mercy”

47.They said: “We augur an omen from you and those with you.” He said: “Your omen is of Allah; nay, but you are a people that are being tested.”}

Salih and Thamud

Allah tells us about Thamud and how they responded to their Prophet Salih, when Allah sent him to call them to worship Allah alone, with no partner or associate. “Then look! They became two parties quarreling with each other.” Mujahid said, “These were believers and disbelievers.” (At-Tabari 19:475) This is like the Ayah, “The leaders of those who were arrogant among his people said to those who were counted weak — to such of them as believed: “Know you that Salih is one sent from his Lord.” They said: “We indeed believe in that with which he has been sent.” Those who were arrogant said: “Verily, we disbelieve in that which you believe in.” (7:75-76) “He said: “O my people! Why do you seek to hasten the evil before the good” meaning, ‘why are you praying for the punishment to come, and not asking Allah for His mercy’ Then he said: “Why seek you not the forgiveness of Allah, that you may receive mercy” They said: “We augur an omen from you and those with you.” This means: “We do not see any good in your face and the faces of those who are following you.” Since they were doomed, whenever anything bad happened to any of them they would say, “This is because of Salih and his companions.” Mujahid said, “They regarded them as bad omens.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 6:369) This is similar to what Allah said about the people of Firawn: “But whenever good came to them, they said: “Ours is this.” And if evil afflicted them, they saw it as an omen about Musa and those with him” (7:131). And Allah says: “And if some good reaches them, they say, “This is from Allah,” but if some evil befalls them, they say, “This is from you.” Say: “All things are from Allah.” (4:78) i.e., by virtue of His will and decree. And Allah tells us about the dwellers of the town, when the Messengers came to them: “They (people) said: “For us, we see an omen from you; if you cease not, we will surely stone you, and a painful torment will touch you from us.” They (Messengers) said: “Your omens are with yourselves!” (36:18) And these people [Thamud] said: “We augur an omen from you and those with you.” He said: “Your omen is of Allah” meaning, Allah will punish you for that. “Nay, but you are a people that are being tested.” Qatadah said: “You are being tested to see whether you will obey or disobey.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 6:369) The apparent meaning of the phrase “are being tested” is: you will be left to get carried away in your state of misguidance.

{48. And there were in the city nine Rahtin, who made mischief in the land, and would not reform.

49.They said: “Swear one to another by Allah that we shall make a secret night attack on him and his household, and thereafter we will surely say to his near relatives: `We witnessed not the destruction of his household, and verily, we are telling the truth.”’

50. So, they plotted a plot, and We planned a plan, while they perceived not.

51. Then see how was the end of their plot! Verily, We destroyed them and their nation all together.

52. These are their houses in utter ruin, for they did wrong. Verily, in this is indeed an Ayah for people who know.

53. And We saved those who believed, and had Taqwa of Allah.}

 

The Plot of the Mischief-Makers and the End of the People of Thamud

Allah tells us about the evildoers of Thamud and their leaders who used to call their people to misguidance and disbelief, and to deny Salih. Eventually they killed the she-camel and were about to kill Salih too. They plotted to let him sleep with his family at night, then they would assassinate him and tell his relatives that they knew nothing about what happened to him, and that they were telling the truth because none of them had seen anything. Allah says: “And there were in the city” meaning, in the city of Thamud, “nine Raht” meaning, nine people, “who made mischief in the land, and would not reform.” They forced their opinions on the people of Thamud, because they were the leaders and chiefs. Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said: “These were the people who killed the she-camel,” (At-Tabari 19:477) Meaning, that happened upon their instigation, may Allah curse them. Allah says: “But they called their comrade and he took (a sword) and killed (the she-camel).” (54:29) “When the most wicked man among them went forth (to kill the she-camel).” (91:12) Abdur-Razzaq said that Yahya bin Rabiah As-Sanani told them, “I heard Ata’ – i.e. Ibn Abi Rabah – say: “And there were in the city nine Raht, who made mischief in the land, and would not reform.” ‘They used to break silver coins.”’ (Abdur-Razzaq 3:83) They would break off pieces from them, as if they used to trade with them in terms of numbers ﴿as opposed to weight﴾, as the Arabs used to do.

Imam Malik narrated from Yahya bin Said that Said bin Al-Musayyib said: “Cutting gold and silver (coins) is part of spreading corruption on earth.” What is meant is that the nature of these evil disbelievers was to spread corruption on earth by every means possible, one of which was that mentioned by these Imams. “They said: “Swear one to another by Allah that we shall make a secret night attack on him and his household…” They took a mutual oath, pledging that during the night, whoever met the Allah’s Prophet Salih, peace be upon him, he would assassinate him. But Allah planned against them and caused their plot to backfire. Mujahid said, “They took a mutual oath pledging to kill him, but before they could reach him, they and their people were all destroyed.” (At-Tabari 19:478)

Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Hatim [That is Abdur Rahman bin Zayd. This narration is recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim no. 16485] said: “When they killed the she-camel, Salih said to them: “Enjoy yourselves in your homes for three days. This is a promise (i.e., a threat) that will not be belied.” (11:65). They said: ‘Salih claims that he will finish with us in three days, but we will finish him and his family before the three days are over.’ Salih had a place of worship in a rocky tract in a valley, where he used to pray. So they set out to go to a cave there one night, and said, ‘When he comes to pray, we will kill him, then we will return. When we have finished him off, we will go to his family and finish them off too.’ Then Allah sent down a rock upon them from the mountains round about; they feared that it would crush them, so they ran into the cave and the rock covered the mouth of the cave while they were inside. Their people did not know where they were or what had happened to them. So Allah punished some of them here, and some of them there, and He saved Salih and the people who were with him. Then he recited: “So, they plotted a plot, and We planned a plan, while they perceived not. Then see how was the end of their plot! Verily, We destroyed them and their nation, all together. These are their houses in utter ruin,” i.e., deserted.’ “for they did wrong. Verily, in this is indeed an Ayah for people who know. And We saved those who believed, and had Taqwa of Allah.”

{54. And (remember) Lut! When he said to his people: “Do you commit immoral sins while you see”

55.”Do you practice your lusts on men instead of women Nay, but you are a people who behave senselessly.”

56. There was no other answer given by his people except that they said: “Drive out the family of Lut from your city. Verily, these are men who want to be clean and pure!”

57. So, We saved him and his family, except his wife. We destined her to be of those who remained behind.

58. And We rained down on them a rain. So, evil was the rain of those who were warned.}

Lut and His People

Allah tells us about His servant and Messenger Lut, peace be upon him, and how he warned his people of Allah’s punishment for committing an act of immorality which no human ever committed before them — intercourse with males instead of females. This is a major sin, whereby men are satisfied with men and women are with women (i.e., homosexuality). Lut said: “Do you commit immoral sins while you see?” meaning, ‘while you see one another, and you practice every kind of evil in your meetings.’ “Do you practice your lusts on men instead of women Nay, but you are a people who behave senselessly.” means, ‘you do not know anything of what is natural or what is prescribed by Allah.’ This is like the Ayah: “Go you in unto the males of mankind, and leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your wives Nay, you are a trespassing people!” (26:165-166) “There was no other answer given by his people except that they said: “Drive out the family of Lut from your city. Verily, these are men who want to be clean and pure!” means, ‘they feel embarrassed because of the deeds you are doing, and because you approve of your actions, so expel them from among yourselves, for they are not fit to live among you in your city.’ So, the people resolved to do that, and Allah destroyed them, and a similar end awaits the disbelievers. Allah says: “So, We saved him and his family, except his wife. We destined her to be of those who remained behind.” meaning, she was one of those who were destroyed, with her people, because she was a helper to what they did and she approved of their evil deeds. She told them about the guests of Lut so that they could come to them. She did not do the evil deeds herself, which was because of the honor of the Lut and not because of any honor on her part. “And We rained down on them a rain.” means; stones of Sijjil, in a well-arranged manner one after another. Marked from your Lord; and they are not ever far from the evildoers. Allah said: “So, evil was the rain of those who were warned.” meaning, those against whom proof was established and whom the warning reached, but they went against the Messenger and denied him, and resolved to drive him out from among them.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 319-338

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Surah An-Naml Ayat 1-31

 

Surah An-Naml

(The Ants) 

Chapter 27

Which was revealed in Makkah

 

{1.Ta Sin. These are the Ayat of the Qur’an, and (it is) a Book (that is) clear.

2. A guide and glad tidings for the believers.

3. Those who perform the Salah and give the Zakah and they believe with certainty in the Hereafter.

4. Verily, those who believe not in the Hereafter, We have made their deeds fair seeming to them, so that they wander about blindly.

5. They are those for whom there will be an evil torment. And in the Hereafter they will be the greatest losers.

6. And verily, you are being taught the Qur’an from One, All-Wise, All-Knowing.}

The Qur’an is Guidance and Glad Tidings for the Believers, a Warning to the Disbelievers, and it is from Allah

In (the comments on) Surat Al-Baqarah, we discussed the letters which appear at the beginning of some Surahs.“These are the Ayat of the Qur’an, and (it is) a Book (that is) clear.” It is plain and evident. “A guide and glad tidings for the believers.” meaning, guidance and good news may be attained from the Qur’an for those who believe in it, follow it and put it into practice. They establish obligatory prayers, pay Zakah and believe with certain faith in the Hereafter, the resurrection after death, reward and punishment for all deeds, good and bad, and Paradise and Hell. This is like the Ayat: “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…” (41:44). “that you may give glad tidings to those who have Taqwa, and warn with it the Ludd (most quarrelsome) people” (19: 97). Allah says here: “Verily, those who believe not in the Hereafter,” meaning, those who deny it and think that it will never happen, “We have made their deeds fair seeming to them, so that they wander about blindly.” means, ‘We have made what they are doing seem good to them, and We have left them to continue in their misguidance, so they are lost and confused.’ This is their recompense for their disbelief in the Hereafter, as Allah says: “And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away, as they refused to believe therein for the first time” (6:110). “They are those for whom there will be an evil torment.” in this world and the Hereafter. “And in the Hereafter they will be the greatest losers.” means, no one but they, among all the people who will be gathered, will lose their souls and their wealth. “And verily, you are bing taught the Qur’an from One, All-Wise, All Knowing” “And verily, you” O Muhammad. Qatadah said: “are being taught” “Are receiving.” “the Qur’an from One, All-Wise, All-Knowing.” from the One Who is Wise in His Commands and prohibitions, and Who knows all things, major and minor. Whatever He says is absolute Truth, and His rulings are entirely fair and just.” (6:115)

{7. (Remember) when Musa said to his household: “Verily, I have seen a fire; I will bring you from there some information, or I will bring you a burning ember, that you may warm yourselves.”

8. But when he came to it, he was called: “Blessed is whosoever is in the fire, and whosoever is round about it! And glorified be Allah, the Lord of all that exists.”

9. “O Musa! Verily, it is I, Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.”

10. “And throw down your stick!” But when he saw it moving as if it were a snake, he turned in flight, and did not look back. (It was said:) “O Musa! Fear not: verily, the Messengers fear not in front of Me.”

11. “Except him who has done wrong and afterwards has changed evil for good; then surely, I am Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

12. “And put your hand into opening of your garment, it will come forth white without hurt. (These are) among the nine signs (you will take) to Firawn and his people. Verily, they are a people who are rebellious.”

13. But when Our Ayat came to them, clear to see, they said: “This is a manifest magic.”

14. And they belied them wrongfully and arrogantly, though they themselves were convinced thereof. So, see what was the end of the mischief-makers.}

The Story of Musa and the End of Firawn

Here Allah tells His Messenger Muhammad about what happened to Musa, peace be upon him, how Allah chose him, spoke with him and gave him mighty, dazzling signs and overwhelming proof, and sent him to Firawn and his people, but they denied the proof, disbelieved in him and arrogantly refused to follow him. Allah says: “when Musa said to his household”, meaning, remember when Musa was traveling with his family and lost his way. This was at night, in the dark. Musa had seen a fire beside the mountain, i.e., he had noticed a fire burning brightly, and said, “to his household: “Verily, I have seen a fire; I will bring you from there some information…” meaning, about the way we should take.’ “or I will bring you a burning ember, that you may warm yourselves.” meaning, so that they could keep warm. And it was as he said: “He came back with great news, and a great light.” Allah says: “But when he came to it, he was called: “Blessed is whosoever is in the fire, and whosoever is round about it!’‘ meaning, when he came to it, he saw a great and terrifying sight: the fire was burning in a green bush, and the fire was burning ever brighter while the bush was growing ever more green and beautiful. Then he raised his head, and saw that its light was connected to the clouds of the sky. Ibn Abbas and others said, “It was not a fire, rather it was shining light.” According to one report narrated from Ibn Abbas, it was the Light of the Lord of the worlds. (At-Tabari 19:428) Musa stood amazed by what he was seeing, and “he was called: “Blessed is whosoever is in the fire…” (At-Tabari 19:428) Ibn Abbas said, “This means, Holy is (whosoever is in the fire).” “and whosoever is round about it” means, of the angels. This was the view of Ibn Abbas, Ikrimah, Said bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan and Qatadah. (At-Tabari 19:429) “And glorified be Allah, the Lord of all that exists”, Who does whatever He wills and there is nothing like Him among His creation. Nothing He has made can encompass Him, and He is the Exalted, the Almighty, Who is utterly unlike all that He has created. Heaven and earth cannot contain Him, but He is the One, the Self-Sufficient Master, Who is far above any comparison with His creation. “O Musa! Verily, it is I, Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” Allah told him that the One Who was addressing him was his Lord Allah, the All-Mighty, Who has subjugated and subdued all things, the One Who is Wise in all His words and deeds. Then He commanded him to throw down the stick that was in his hand, so that He might show him clear proof that He is the One Who is able to do all things, whatever He wills. When Musa threw that stick down, it changed into the form of a huge and terrifying snake, moving quickly despite its size. Allah says: “But when he saw it moving as if it were a Jann (snake).” Jann refers to a type of snake that is the fastest-moving and most agile. When Musa saw that with his own eyes, “he turned in flight, and did not look back.” meaning, he did not turn around, because he was so afraid. Allah’s saying: “O Musa! Fear not: verily, the Messengers fear not in front of Me.” means, ‘do not be afraid of what you see, for I want to choose you as a Messenger and make you a great Prophet.’ “Except him who has done wrong and afterwards has changed evil for good; then surely, I am Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” This is an exception of the exclusionary type. This is good news for mankind, for whoever does an evil deed then gives it up and repents and turns to Allah, Allah will accept his repentance, as He says: “And verily, I am indeed forgiving to him who repents, believes and does righteous good deeds, and then Ahtada.[meaning he is guided] (20:82) “And whoever does evil or wrongs himself…” (4:110). And there are many other Ayat which say the same. “And put your hand into the opening of your garment, it will come forth white without hurt.” This is another sign, further brilliant proof of the ability of Allah to do whatever He wills. It is also confirmation of the truth of the one to whom the miracle was given. Allah commanded him to put his hand into the opening of his garment, and when he put his hand in and took it out again, it came out white and shining as if it were a piece of the moon or a flash of dazzling lightning. “among the nine signs” means, ‘these are two of the nine signs which you will be supported with and which will serve as proof for you.’ “to Firawn and his people. Verily, they are a people who are rebellious.” These were the nine signs of which Allah said: “And indeed We gave Musa nine clear signs” (17:101) – as we have stated there. “But when Our Ayat came to them, clear to see”, i.e., clear and obvious, “they said: “This is a manifest magic” .” They wanted to oppose it with their own magic, but they were defeated and were returned disgraced. “And they belied them” means, verbally, “though they themselves were convinced thereof.” means, they knew deep down that this was truth from Allah, but they denied it and were stubborn and arrogant. “wrongfully and arrogantly” means, wronging themselves because this was the despicable manner to which they were accustomed, and they were arrogant because they were too proud to follow the truth. Allah said: “So, see what was the end of the mischief-makers.” meaning, ‘see, O Muhammad, what were the consequences of their actions when Allah destroyed them and drowned every last one of them in a single morning.’ The point of this story is: beware, ‘O you who disbelieve in Muhammad and deny the Message that he has brought from his Lord, lest the same thing that befell them befall you also.’ But what is worse, is that Muhammad is nobler and greater than Musa, and his proof is stronger than that of Musa, for the signs that Allah has given him are combined with his presence and his character, in addition to the fact that previous Prophets foretold his coming and took a covenant from the people that they would follow him if they should see him, may the best of blessings and peace from his Lord be upon him.

{15. And indeed We gave knowledge to Dawud and Sulayman, and they both said: “All praise be to Allah, Who has preferred us above many of His believing servants!”

16. And Sulayman inherited from Dawud. He said: “O mankind! We have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from everything. This, verily, is an evident grace.”

17. And there were gathered before Sulayman his hosts of Jinn and men, and birds, and they all were set in battle order (marching forward).

18. Till, when they came to the valley of the ants, one of the ants said: “O ants! Enter your dwellings, lest Sulayman and his armies should crush you, while they perceive not.”

19. So he (Sulayman) smiled, amused at her speech and said: “My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your favors which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your mercy among Your righteous servants.”}

Dawud and Sulayman (peace be upon them), the organization of Sulayman’s Troops and His passage through the Valley of the Ants

Here Allah tells us about the great blessings and favors which He bestowed upon two of His servants and Prophets, Dawud (David) and his son Sulayman (Solomon), peace be upon them both, and how they enjoyed happiness in this world and the Hereafter, power and authority in this world, and the position of being Prophets and Messengers. Allah says: “And indeed We gave knowledge to Dawud and Sulayman, and they both said: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has preferred us above many of His believing servants!” “And Sulayman inherited from Dawud.” means, in kingship and prophethood. What is meant here is not wealth, because if that were the case, Sulayman would not have been singled out from among the sons of Dawud, as Dawud had one hundred wives. Rather what is meant is the inheritance of kingship and prophethood, for the wealth of the Prophets cannot be inherited, as the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“We Prophets cannot be inherited from; whatever we leave behind is charity.” (Tuhft Al-Ahwadi 5:234)

And Sulayman said: “O mankind! We have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from everything.” Here Sulayman was speaking of the blessings that Allah bestowed upon him, by giving him complete authority and power, whereby mankind, the Jinn and the birds were subjugated to him. He also knew the language of the birds and animals, which is something that had never been given to any other human being – as far as we know from what Allah and His Messenger told us. Allah enabled Sulayman to understand what the birds said to one another as they flew through the air, and what the different kinds of animals said. Sulayman said: “We have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from everything.” i.e., all things that a king needs. “This, verily, is an evident grace.” means, ‘this is clearly the blessings of Allah upon us.’ “And there were gathered before Sulayman his hosts of Jinn and men, and birds, and they all were set in battle order.” means, all of Sulayman’s troops of Jinn, men and birds were gathered together, and he rode with them in a display of might and glory, with people marching behind him, followed by the Jinn, and the birds flying above his head. When it was hot, they would shade him with their wings. “and they all were set in battle order.” The first and the last of them were brought together, so that none of them would step out of place. Mujahid said: “Officials were appointed to keep each group in order, and to keep the first and the last together so that no one would step out of line — just as kings do nowadays.” “Till, when they came to the valley of the ants,” meaning, when Sulayman, the soldiers and the army with him crossed the valley of the ants, “one of the ants said: “O ants! Enter your dwellings, lest Sulayman and his armies should crush you, while they perceive not.” Sulayman, peace be upon him, understood what the ant said, “So he smiled, amused at her speech and said: “My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your favors which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You,” meaning: ‘inspire me to give thanks for the blessings that You have bestowed upon me by teaching me to understand what the birds and animals say, and the blessings that You have bestowed upon my parents by making them Muslims who believe in You.’ “and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You,” means, ‘deeds that You love which will earn Your pleasure.’ “and admit me by Your mercy among Your righteous servants.” means, ‘when You cause me to die, then join me with the righteous among Your servants, and the Higher Companion among Your close friends.’

{20. He inspected the birds, and said: “What is the matter that I see not the hoopoe? Or is he among the absentees”

21. “I will surely punish him with a severe torment or slaughter him, unless he brings me a clear reason.”}

The Absence of the Hoopoe

Mujahid, Said bin Jubayr and others narrated from Ibn Abbas and others that the hoopoe was an expert who used to show Sulayman where water was if he was out in open land and needed water. The hoopoe would look for water for him in the various strata of the earth, just as a man looks at things on the surface of the earth, and he would know just how far below the surface the water was. When the hoopoe showed him where the water was, Sulayman would command the Jinn to dig in that place until they brought water from the depths of the earth. One day Sulayman went to some open land and checked on the birds, but he could not see the hoopoe. “and (Sulayman) said: “What is the matter that I see not the hoopoe? Or is he among the absentees” One day Abdullah bin Abbas told a similar story, and among the people was a man from the Khawarij whose name was Nafi bin Al-Azraq, who often used to raise objections to Ibn Abbas. He said to him, “Stop, O Ibn Abbas; you will be defeated (in argument) today!” Ibn Abbas said: “Why?” Nafi said: “You are telling us that the hoopoe can see water beneath the ground, but any boy can put seed in a trap and cover the trap with dirt, and the hoopoe will come and take the seed, so the boy can catch him in the trap.” Ibn Abbas said, “If it was not for the fact that this man would go and tell others that he had defeated Ibn Abbas in argument, I would not even answer.” Then he said to Nafi: “Woe to you! When the decree strikes a person, his eyes become blind and he loses all caution.” Nafi said: “By Allah I will never dispute with you concerning anything in the Qur’an.” (Al-Qurtubi 13:177)

“I will surely punish him with a severe torment” Al-Amash said, narrating from Al-Minhal bin Amr from Said that Ibn Abbas said: “He meant, by plucking his feathers.” (At-Tabari 19:443) Abdullah bin Shaddad said: “By plucking his feathers and exposing him to the sun.” (At-Tabari 19:443) This was also the view of more than one of the Salaf, that it means plucking his feathers and leaving him exposed to be eaten by ants. “or slaughter him,” means, killing him. “unless he brings me a clear reason.” i.e., a valid excuse. Sufyan bin Uyaynah and Abdullah bin Shaddad said: “When the hoopoe came back, the other birds said to him: “What kept you Sulayman has vowed to shed your blood.” The hoopoe said: “Did he make any exception ﴿did he say unless’﴾” They said, “Yes, he said: “I will surely punish him with a severe torment or slaughter him, unless he brings me a clear reason.” The hoopoe said, “Then I am saved.”

{22. But (the hoopoe) stayed not long, he said: “I have grasped which you have not grasped and I have come to you from Saba’ with true news.”

23. “I found a woman ruling over them, she has been given all things, and she has a great throne.”

24. “I found her and her people worshipping the sun instead of Allah, and Shaytan has made their deeds fair seeming to them to prevent them from the way, so they have no guidance.”

25. So they do not prostrate themselves before Allah, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what you conceal and what you reveal.

26. Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa, the Lord of the Supreme Throne!”}

 

How the Hoopoe came before Sulayman and told Him about Saba’

Allah says: “But (the hoopoe) stayed not long,” meaning, he was absent for only a short time. Then he came and said to Sulayman: “I have grasped which you have not grasped” meaning, ‘I have come to know something that you and your troops do not know.’ “and I have come to you from Saba’ with true news.” meaning, with true and certain news. Saba’ (Sheba) refers to Himyar, they were a dynasty in Yemen. Then the hoopoe said: “I found a woman ruling over them,” Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “This is Bilqis bint Sharahil, the queen of Saba’.” Allah’s saying: “she has been given all things,” means, all the conveniences of this world that a powerful monarch could need. “and she has a great throne.” meaning, a tremendous chair adorned with gold and different kinds of jewels and pearls. The historians said, “This throne was in a great, strong palace which was high and firmly constructed. In it there were three hundred and sixty windows on the east side, and a similar number on the west, and it was constructed in such a way that each day when the sun rose it would shine through one window, and when it set it would shine through the opposite window. And the people used to prostrate to the sun morning and evening. This is why the hoopoe said: “I found her and her people worshipping the sun instead of Allah, and Shaytan has made their deeds fair seeming to them, and has prevented them from the way,” meaning, from the way of truth, “so they have no guidance.” Allah’s saying: “and Shaytan has made their deeds fair seeming to them, and has prevented them from the way, so they have no guidance, so they do not prostrate themselves before Allah.” They do not know the way of truth, prostrating only before Allah alone and not before anything that He has created, whether heavenly bodies or anything else. This is like the Ayah: “And from among His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate yourselves not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate yourselves to Allah Who created them, if you indeed worship Him.” (41:37) “Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth,” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said: “He knows everything that is hidden in the heavens and on earth.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 6:352)

This was also the view of Ikrimah, Mujahid, Said bin Jubayr, Qatadah and others. (At-Tabari 19:445) His saying: “and knows what you conceal and what you reveal.” means, He knows what His servants say and do in secret, and what they say and do openly. This is like the Ayah: “It is the same whether any of you conceals his speech or declares it openly, whether he be hid by night or goes forth freely by day” (13:10). His saying: “Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa, the Lord of the Supreme Throne!” means, He is the One to be called upon, Allah, He is the One other than Whom there is no god, the Lord of the Supreme Throne, and there is none greater than Him in all of creation. Since the hoopoe was calling to what is good, and for people to worship and prostrate to Allah alone, it would have been forbidden to kill him.

Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet forbade killing four kinds of animals: ants, bees, hoopoes and the sparrow hawks. Its chain of narration is Sahih. (Ahmad 1:332)

{27. (Sulayman) said: “We shall see whether you speak the truth or you are (one) of the liars.”

28. “Go you with this letter of mine and deliver it to them, then draw back from them and see what they return.”

29. She said: “O chiefs! Verily, here is delivered to me a noble letter, ”

30. “Verily, it is from Sulayman, and it (reads): ‘In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;’

31. ‘Be you not exalted against me, but come to me submitting (as Muslims).’ ”}

Sulayman’s Letter to Bilqis

Allah tells us what Sulayman said to the hoopoe when he told him about the people of Saba’ and their queen: “(Sulayman) said: “We shall see whether you speak the truth or you are (one) of the liars.” meaning, ‘are you telling the truth’ “or you are (one) of the liars.” meaning, ‘or are you telling a lie in order to save yourself from the threat I made against you’ “Go you with this letter of mine and deliver it to them then draw back from them and see what they return.” Sulayman wrote a letter to Bilqis and her people and gave it to the hoopoe to deliver. It was said that he carried it on his wings, as is the way with birds, or that he carried it in his beak. He went to their land and found the palace of Bilqis, then he went to her private chambers and threw the letter through a small window, then he stepped to one side out of good manners. Bilqis was amazed and confused when she saw that, then she went and picked up the letter, opened its seal and read it. The letter said: “it is from Sulayman, and it (reads): ‘In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful; Be you not exalted against me, but come to me submitting (as Muslims).”  So she gathered her commanders and ministers and the leaders of her land, and said to them: “O chiefs! Verily, here is delivered to me a noble letter.” She described it as such because of the wondrous things she had seen, that it was delivered by a bird who threw it to her, then stood aside out of good manners. This was something that no king could do. Then she read the letter to them: “Verily, it is from Sulayman, and it (reads): In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful; Be you not exalted against me, but come to me submitting (as Muslims).” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 6:354) Thus they knew that it was from Allah’s Prophet Sulayman, upon him be peace, and that they could not match him. This letter was the utmost in brevity and eloquence, coming straight to the point. “Be you not exalted against me,” Qatadah said: “Do not be arrogant with me.“but come to me submitting (as Muslims).” (At-Tabari 19:453) Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said: “Do not refuse or be too arrogant to come to me “but come to me submitting (as Muslims).”

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 299-319

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Contemplating One’s Departure from this Life

Whoever reflects on the nearness of the moment of his departure from this life shall surely busy himself in collecting the supplies needed to make this journey. How disgraceful it is when a person barters his precious self for the paltry gains of this life.

The soul is the quintessence of his self, indivisible and perpetual; it is a priceless jewel that cannot be valued; the limbs of the body are merely instruments made to serve it in its journey to Allah.

Within the receptacle of the heart, there is a fire that is like a burning lantern; life is its light, blood is its fuel oil, movement is its light beams, desire is its heat and anger is its smoke. When Allah created man, He made the forehead the soul’s guard, the middle part a counsellor, the back part of the head a protector, the faculty of intellect a teacher, and the sensory faculty a learner. Then He deployed the limbs to be in its service, whether in a state of inaction or motion. He also made this wordily life a battlefield, and gave him the freedom to move to and fro in his battle array; thus when he defeats his enemies it is as if he has subdued Chosroes [the King of Persia], but if he is defeated then no one survives.

When the pious became mindful of the journey to the Hereafter, they walked through the darkness of their nature, cutting across it with exertion and endeavour. And when the light of the unseen shone over them, “Every time it lights [the way] for them, they walk therein.” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:20) Until they arrives at the gates of Paradise, their state of poverty being their sole adornment, their night vigils [night prayer] being their source of pleasure and humility being their distinguished characteristic. For too long have they been imprisoned in this world, so they communicate their grievances [against this life and its temptations] to Allah through their invocation and worship; had you been awake during the night you would have heard the voices of the inmates of this prison.

The birds of their longing [for their Lord] are locked in secret cages of their innermost selves, lamenting out of their yearning desire, late during the night [anxious to meet their Lord in the Hereafter]. Whenever the doves of their anxiety cool, the clouds of their eyes send down a torrent of rainfall. And it is when the Angel of death is about to take their souls that the cage is opened up letting their soul out to seek the soothing Mercy of Allah. Momentarily does their soul waver as if dreading the knock of “who will cure [him]?” (Surah al-Qiyamah 75:27) But as soon as they hear the call of love addressing them, “Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him].” (Surah al-Fajr 89:28) The sweetness of the summon makes them completely forget the bitterness of the cup, and the agony of death becomes ease.

Wounds were insignificant to them, and they were content to live in anguish; O you who are distant from them, what are you in comparison to them! Do not think of it as a trivial matter; indeed snatching the star of Canopus out of the sky would be an easier matter than catching up with them! It is akin to polishing a worthless sword, or encouraging an old man to play like a child, or making a wingless eagle fly!

He who was not moved by a subtle suggestion will not benefit from a flood of admonishment or lengthy sermons! Do you see even one arrow from my quiver of exhortations being broken? Aye, maybe it hit the heart of a grieving person without him knowing who the shooter was!

Advance forward purposefully, full of determination, letting victory be your only concern – not your share of the spoils – because glory can never be attained by a coward; the pens that write the best are those with the sharpest tips.

Awaken yourself from the slumber of your heedlessness, for the dawn of greyness (of your hair) has appeared. Be swift of foot and hasten forward, because the fellowship of the righteous has already left. Beseech your Lord in the valleys of the dark nights, so that He might bestow upon you His Mercy. Seek out the traces of those who undertook this journey before you, to ensure that you stay on the right track. And when you catch up with your company, devote yourself to serving their mounts, so that perhaps you might have the good fortune of entering the tent of the One you love.

And our closing supplication is that all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad and his family and companions.

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam Ibn Jawzi Pages 216-219 (end)

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Consequences of Being Neglectful

As soon as you rise from a gathering of remembrance you should quickly make your way to the house of solitude, ensuring that you stay there for a while; seek the advice of your meditation, bring to account all the parties involved in the betrayal [i.e. limbs that committed sins during your stay with others], and gather up what negligence and laziness caused you to squander from the capital of your lifespan; grieve over every sin as well as every lost opportunity to perform a good deed.

Hasten to benefit from what remains! Let the delinquent collect what he has missed; let the one-eyed person be careful of stones thrown in his direction in case they hit his only sound eye.

Do not underestimate the value of even a simple good deed.

Your hearts have lost the way in the desolate land of vain desires so rise now on the feet of endeavour, pay no heed to the crowded road and strive to make full effort, seeking whatever means are available to you; just as Yaqub, peace be upon him, directed his sons, “go and find out about Yusuf and his brother and despair not of relief from Allah.” (Surah Yusuf 12:87) Take all means to recover what you have lost and do not despair from the Mercy of Allah; indeed many people have been healed though they were on the verge of ruin.

I wonder at how observant the bodily eyes are, even though the hearts have turned blind. If the spring and its flowers, the sounds of chanting and its lyrical cadences cannot move you, then who and what will? Woe to you: the mourning of doves is their expression of love; so if there was in your heart any place for loving your Lord, then cry just as al-Junayd used to weep, and you might chance upon the secrets of Sirin. Sell the wealth of you desires for the sake of the One who will reward you more richly, is you wish to attack the rank of Abu Yazid.

How many opportunities have called out to you but you have missed out! Indeed, the mercy of Allah is spacious and encompassing; it is only that ignorance is expelled by whatever contains it.

Woe to you, the fire of guidance has appeared from the tinder of sermons that carry admonition, so stand upon resolute feet and strive hard so that you might find guidance near this fire.

I wonder at those who have halted to a standstill at ‘if only Allah were to guide us!’ when they do not even seek out the means of guidance, because in reality “they did not intend except to flee.” (Surah al-Azhab 33:13) Woe to you, the troops of inaction have closed in, therefore, “Go forth, whether light or heavy, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah.” (Surah al-Taubah 9:41)

And take from this life only the bare necessities that you need in order to reach your final destination – the Hereafter. Indeed, the demands of life and its vagaries can change one’s purpose and alter one’s course, causing the one walking on the path to Allah to falter, but “whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out” (Surah al-Talaq 65:2) Therefore whatever fate has decreed upon you in happiness of calamity “So let there not be in your breast distress therefrom.” (Surah Al-Araf 7:2) The indication of Allah’s love for you is that He safeguards and preserves you, your conviction of His Oneness. The instrument of admonishment is a whip to discipline the self and drive it away from the house of indolence. Thus what you may think is torture is actually a means by which to rectify your broken affairs: it is the slits cut in a garment that makes it a robe. Know that “If you had sinned, Allah would have replaced you with a people who would sin and then seek Allah’s forgiveness upon which he would forgive them.” (Recorded in Muslim 2749) Indeed, the outreach of love is what preserves the people of refinement, even if the love is buried deep down int he heart.

When Adam and Eve, peace be upon them, ate from the forbidden tree they found themselves encircled by calamitous dismay; thereupon they were hit by the rod of departure, banished from heaven and sent down to earth. nevertheless, it is the same One who sent them down Who asks every night, “Is there anyone asking me so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone asking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” (Recorded in Muslim 758)

O you who stand in the marketplace full of profit; what did you gain from your visit there? O you who has become cut off from the path of spiritual connection; will you not get back on track? Did you dedicate yourself to your Lord, or to everything else except Him? O Munkar and Nakir [the Angels questioning the deceased in the grave] go down to meet one who has just left the gardens of profit that is located in the house of action and transaction [dunya] and see whether he decided to bring out with him [to the next life] a thorn of doubt, or a rose of certainty with which to perfume his mouth when given an affirmative reply of “Yes, indeed” to the question “and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them]: ‘Am I not your Lord?” (Surah al-Araf 7:172)

Then see whether his good deeds changed his state of prolonged heedlessness? Are the blemishes of the kind that is excused by Allah? Does the water of his tawhid reach the size of Qullatayn [the level which will make something pure]? At any rate, Allah will look after him, but what is his condition?!

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam Ibn Jawzi Pages 211-215

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