Archive for the ‘Tafsir’ Category

129. You will never be able to do perfect justice between your wives, even if it is your ardent desire, so do not incline too much to one of them leaving the other suspended [between divorce and marriage]. If you do all that is right and fear Allah, then Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Allah here informs that husbands will never be able to do perfect justice between their wives. It is not within their power or capacity to perform perfect justice, because for the observance of equitability it is essential that they have equal feelings of love, affection, and fondness for all their wives and then act according to the demands of these feelings. Since this is impossible and impractical, and is not within the capability of a human being, so Allah has forgiven it and has prohibited them from trying to perform what is not within their power. Thus, Allah decrees, so do not incline too much to one of them so as to leave the other suspended, that is, do not have too much affection toward one to the extent of not discharge the rights of the other wives, which is essential upon you. Rather, observe balance and equitability as far as is within your power. Therefore, [equitably] provide the basic necessities, such as living allowance, clothing, housing, and sleeping with them, etc. which are matters that are mandatory on you. On the contrary, it is not possible to be equitable and to do justice with all your wives in matters of love and coitus.

Hence, when a husband stops discharging those rights of a wife that are obligatory on him, then she becomes similar to a suspended woman who does not have a husband from whom she can derive comfort and discharge of her matrimonial rights, nor is she like the wife who has a husband to take care of her rights. If you do all that is right, that is, being judicious and controlling your evil self and compelling it to discharge the rights due to your wife―as well as other matters that are pending between you and others or be a mediator between them to solve their disputes. This indicates that every possible effort should be made and every step taken to attain peace. Fear Allah, that is, be fearful of Allah while obeying His commandments and refraining from His prohibitions, and observe steadfastness as much as is within your capacity. Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful; indeed Allah will forgive all the sins you have committed and will overlook your mistakes; just as you treated your wives with kindness and affection, so will Allah treat you with benefaction and kindness.

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Qur’anic Verse

255. Allah, there is no diety but Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of all that exists. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His Permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, but they will never encompass anything of His knowledge except what He wills. His Kursee extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. He is the Most High, the Most Great.

 Qur’anic Exegesis

This noble verse is amongst the greatest and most revered of all the verses of the Qur’ān; it narrates the greatest of Allah’s attributes along with other various important issues. Many hadīths persuade and encourage us to recite this noble verse in the morning and the evening, at bedtime, and after every obligatory salaah. Allah says about Himself, there is no diety but Him, hence, every worship and servitude must be for Him, alone, because He is the Most Virtuous and Revered, and showers His blessings on all and sundry. Being one of Allah’s creation and His servants it is our rightful duty that we consistently show Him our gratefulness by obeying His commandments and refraining from His forbiddences. Since all things are transient, except for Allah who is Eternal, so all worship [toward others] is incorrect except for the worship of Allah. Only Allah is the Creator so only He is Perfect, while all other things are mere creation, imperfect and ever dependent on Him; so a creation can never be worthy of being worshipped. The Ever-Living, the Sustainer of all that exists, within these two sacred names of Allah: al-Hayy and al-Qayyoom, there is an indication of all His other attributes, may it be through similitude, connotation or necessity.

Al-Ha’ee refers to the Entity Who is the most Eternal and has the Most Perfect life, and refers to Allah’s personal attributes such as listening, seeing, knowing, having authority, etc. Al-Qayyum refers to the Entity Who is Ever Existing and others exist because of Him. This includes all authoritative attributes of Allah that indicate Him doing whatever He likes. Ascending, descending, speech, judgment, creation, giving sustenance, giving death, giving life and other such innumerable actions and deeds are all proofs of Allah’s attribute of al-Qayyum. Some researchers say that this is the greaty words which, when recited, ensures that no supplication will be rejected.

Another indication of Allah’s Eternity and Self-Existence is that neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. He is the Master and all others are His slaves. He is the Creator, the Sustainer, and the Discreet, while all others are mere creation, needy, and indiscreet. No one in the entire universe, on the earth and in the heavens, has any control over his own matters or that of others, except Allah. Thus Allah says, who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission, that is, no one can intercede for another, as authority of intercession is only with Allah. When Allah desires to shower His kindness on someone, He allows that revered servant to intercede on his behalf; and this would indeed be an increase to the reverence of the intercessor. No one will be able to intercede on his own on behalf of another, until Allah grants him permission to do so.

Afterwards, Allah says, He knows what is before them and what is behind them, that is, He knows regarding all their past and future matters, and knows the details of all their obvious and hidden, past, present, and future deeds. Man has no authority on, or knowledge of, his own matters until and unless Allah notifies him regarding them; for this reason Allah declares, they will never encompass anything of His Knowledge except what He wills. His Khursee extends over the heavens and the earth. This is an indication of the perfection of His grandeur and the vastness of His domain. When even His Khursee (footstool) is so huge that it is bigger than the earth and the skies, although they, despite being so huge, are not the biggest of Allah’s creations and there are others far bigger than them, such as the ‘Arsh (throne) and other things that only Allah has knowledge of; since it is impossible for our limited comprehensions to imagine them, then how can it be possible to comprehend and understand the grand persona of their Creator, Allah, who gave them life and placed in them His innumerable wisdom and secrets. He, Who solely holds [in place] the earth, the skies, and the universes so that they do not leave their designated places, and Who never feels fatigued in doing so. Hence, Allah says, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them, that is, it is not the least difficult for Him to care for all His creation. He is with respect to His persona, the Most High, enthroned on the Mighty Throne.

All His creation is under His dominion, because He is on the highest place. He is on the highest position of esteem, because all His attributes are the most perfect, and the Most Great. Lords, rulers, and kings of this world are nothing compared to Allah’s stature, because He is the Mightiest and Greatest of all Lords. This noble verse contains all the three forms of tawheed: Tawheed al-Uloohiyah, Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah, and Tawheed al-Asma wa’l-Sifaat. This noble verse also contains the description of the vastness of Allah’s dominion, of the unfathomed depth of His knowledge, of the enormity of His unlimited kingdom, of His utmost authority, His unrivalled prominence, His distinct eminence, and His unequalled Singularity. Hence, this noble verse is the most comprehensive and complete description of Allah’s names, virtues, traits, and attributes.

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Qur’anic Verses

67. When Moosa said to his people, “Allah commands you to slaughter a cow.” They said, “Do you make fun of us?” He said, “I seek refuge in Allah from being among the ignorant.” 68. They said, “Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is!” He said, “Allah[1] says, ‘It is a cow neither old nor young, but between the two conditions’, so do what you are commanded.” 69. They said, “Call upon your Lord to make plain to us its color.” He said, “Allah says, ‘It is a yellow cow, bright in its color, pleasing to the beholders.’” 70. They said, “Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is, to us all cows are alike. If Allah wills, we will be guided.” 71. He said, “Allah says, ‘It is a cow neither trained to till the soil nor water the fields, sound, having no blemish.’” They said, “Now you have brought the truth.” So they slaughtered it though they almost did not. 72. Then when you killed a man and fell into dispute, Allah brought forth that which you were concealing. 73. So We said, “Strike him [the dead man] with a piece of [the cow].” Thus Allah brings the dead to life and shows you His signs so that you may understand. 74. Yet after this, your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even harder; for there are stones from which rivers gush forth, and there are some which split open and water flows from them, and there are some which fall down in fear of Allah. Allah is not unaware of what you do.

Qur’anic Exegesis 

So remember the events which occurred between Moosa and yourselves, when you murdered a man and started arguing with each other about the murderer; accusing each other of it, until you carried this dispute to such extremes that if Allah had not intervened you would have gotten involved in a major conflict.

Prophet Moosa, to find the murderer, ordered you to sacrifice a cow. You were obliged to obey him immediately and to not raise any objections, instead what occurred is that you began objecting and said, “Do you make fun of us?” Allah’s Prophet replied, “I seek refuge in Allah from being among the ignorant,” because only an ignorant person will say such useless things and make a mockery of others. A wise person knows that making a mockery of someone from his own people is the worst defect in wisdom and faith. Although he may really have some superiority over others, but such superiority demands that he should thank Allah for it and be kind and humble to others.

When Prophet Moosa said this, they realized its truth and said, call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is, meaning, ask Allah to relate to you how that cow should be–what is her age, etc? He said, “He says, ‘It is a cow neither old nor young, Moosa replied that Allah says that the cow is not an aged one, neither old nor young, but between the two conditions.’” So instead of getting into unnecessary arguing, do what you have been ordered to do. They said, “Call upon your Lord to make plain to us its color.” He said, “He says, ‘It is a yellow cow, bright in its color, that is, it should be of a pure golden color pleasing to the beholders,’” whoever sees her admires her because of her beauty.

They said, “Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is, to us all cows are alike, we do not know what cow you speak off and if Allah wills, we will be guided.” He said, “He says, ‘It is a cow neither trained to till the soil, that is, she has not been used to plough farmland, nor water the fields, she has never been used to draw water from a well, sound, she should be free of all imperfections and must never have been used for labor and having no blemish.’” so aside from the color that has been previously described, she should not have any mark of any other color.

They said, “Now you have brought the truth.” Now you have clearly defined how the cow should be. It was from their ignorance to say this, because Prophet Moosa had initially described the truth. If they would have presented any cow, the desired objective would have been achieved, but since they adopted the way of unnecessary argument, hence Allah too put them to hardship. Additionally, if they would not have said the words if Allah wills they never would have found the required cow.

So they slaughtered it, that is, they slew the cow which had the described attributes though they almost did not, because of their rowdiness and unnecessary questioning, it never really seemed that they would sacrifice the cow.

When they did sacrifice the cow, Allah said to them to touch the murdered person with one of its [the cows] pieces. This might have meant any piece or a particular piece and there is no use trying to establish which one. Thus, when they touched one of cow’s pieces to the murdered person, Allah brought him back to life. Hence, Allah revealed what they had been trying to hide and informed them of the murderer. Bringing the murdered person back to life in front of their eyes was an absolute proof that Allah will give life to the dead. So that you may understand, that is, so you may use your intellect and refrain from what Allah has forbidden for you.

Yet after this, your hearts were hardened and no amount of admonition would be effective on you because your hearts became too hardened after this event. Yet after this, that is, after Allah granted you His greatest bounties and showed you His biggest signs. It was not sensible after such a showing that your hearts became hardened, because what you had witnessed [should have been] enough to make your hearts submissive and obedient to Allah.

Afterwards, Allah defines the characteristics of a hardened heart by saying, became as stones, that is, their hearts have become harder than stone, which is more resilient than iron. When steel or lead is heated in a fire it melts, but stone never melts even [when placed] in fire. Or even harder, that is, hardness of their hearts is not less than that of stone. Here or (او) is not in the meaning of rather (بل).

Accordingly, Allah gives superiority to the stone over their hearts and says, for there are stones, from which rivers gush forth, and there are some which split open and water flows from them, and there are some which fall down in fear of Allah–because water streams out from some stones, some split open and from them water seeps out, and some stones fall down in fear of Allah–so, due to these attributes even stones are far better than your hearts. Then Allah warns them of the dire consequences by saying, and Allah is aware of what you do, that is, He is aware of all that you do; He is aware of all your deeds, big or small, recording them and will soon reimburse you for them appropriately.

It must be remembered that the majority of Qur’anic exegeses have filled their commentaries with detailed Israelite stories. They comment on the Qur’an from the context of Israelite events and explain the Qur’an in the light of those events. For their argument they quote the hadeeth of the Prophet, “Narrate from the Children of Israel, there is no harm [in this].”[2]

My opinion regarding this is that even if there is no wrong in quoting Israelite event, it gives an impression that such events can be described outside of the Qur’anic context. It is not right to present these events separately from the Qur’an and make them part of a Qur’anic commentary until they have been proven by an authentic saying from the Prophet. This is because of a dictum from Prophet Muhammad, “You should neither believe nor disbelieve the People of the Book.”[3]

When we know that these tales are not fully authenticated and we also know that it is the requirement of our faith to keep full belief in the Qur’an, its words and meanings, so it is not appropriate in any way to absolutely consider these unauthentic tales or narrations as the real meaning of the Qur’an, as there is a strong possibility that these tales are mostly fictitious or untrue. No one should be in any doubt about this and we have already suffered a great deal by violating this principle. Allah is the best Conciliator.

[1] The pronoun He is used in the original text.  Since it is used to refer to Allah in this verse, the name Allah has been used for ease of reading.

[2] Abi Daawood: no. 3662

[3] Bukhaaree: no. 4485.

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Qur’anic Verse

[Prophet] give glad tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds that they will be in Gardens under which rivers flow. Whenever they are given a fruit from it, they will say, “This is what we were given before,” because they will be given things in resemblance. They shall have purified companions and they shall reside there forever.

Qur’anic Exegesis

When Allah described the retribution, He also described the reward for the faithful, who are committers of good deeds. It is the way of the Qur’ān to conjointlyx` mention inducement along with intimidation, so that the believer keeps hoping for Allah’s compassion and at the same time is fearful of His chastisement; if in his heart resides the fear of Allah’s wrath, so too should there be hope for Allah’s compassion and kindness.

Give glad tidings, that is, O Prophet, you and your deputies shall give the good news to those who believe, who have accepted faith in their hearts and do righteous deeds from their hearts. So they established their faith with their good deeds. Allah has termed good deeds as al-saalehaat, because of which a person’s affair–whether worldly or religious–and his life–whether earthly or in the hereafter–are set aright and any negativity from his deeds are washed away. He is included amongst the saaleheen (صالحین), those who would be endowed with Allah’s nearness in heaven.

Thus give them the glad tidings that they will be in Gardens wherein there are different types of trees from which there will be delicious fruits, shades, and beautiful branches. That is why it is termed as jannah (garden). Those who would be allowed to enter into Jannah will enjoy its gardens and cool shades, and live there an eternal life of bliss and contentment. Under which rivers flow, means, there would flow in Jannah canals of sweet water, milk, honey, and wine. The people can begin them whenever they like and turn their course with their gestures. The trees of heaven would be irrigated by these very rivers and will produce various kinds of fruits and flora. Whenever they are given a fruit from it, they will say, “This is what we were given before,” meaning, the fruits of heaven will be from the same species as those of this world and will have similar qualities. In shape and taste they will resemble the fruits of this world and there will not exist any sour-tasting fruit in heaven. There will be no time when the inhabitants of heaven will not be enjoying those fruits; rather they will always and forever enjoy the fruits of jannah.

They will be given things in resemblance. It is said that the fruits of jannah will have similarity in names but differ in taste. Some are of the opinion that they are similar in color but differ in name. Others say that they are similar to each other in splendor, taste, and sweetness. It is possible that this is the best explanation. Along with the qualities of the inhabitants of the heaven–such as their abodes, their diet, their food and drink, and the fruits–their wives have also been mentioned. Their qualities and characteristics have been described in detail and precision.

They shall have purified companions and they shall reside there forever. Allah did not say that they would be free of this or that impurity, because their [being] would be the most complete in terms of purities. Their manners would be pure; they would be created from purity; their language would be pure and their vision would be pure. Purity of manners is that they would be attractive; and through their good manners, obedience, and verbal and formal ethics they will express their love for their husbands. They would be completely free of menstruation, sexual secretions, micturition and feces, spittle, phlegm, and stench. They would also be pure in their creation and will be endowed with perfect beauty and splendor. They will not have any blemishes or physical deformities, rather they would be very beautiful physically and very well-mannered. They would be pure-eyed and kind-worded. They would be very humble and will never try to overcome their husbands. There tongues would be free of all vulgar speech and obscene words.

This sacred verse elaborates the following points:

(1)    giver of glad tidings;

(2)    those who have been given these glad tidings;

(3)    the thing these glad tidings are about;

(4)    the reason behind these glad tidings.

The giver of glad tidings is in reference to Prophet Muhammad or those from among his followers who will be his successors in this task [of preaching this knowledge]. Those who have been given these glad tidings refer to the faithful and committers of good deeds. The thing these glad tidings are about refers to Paradise, which has been endowed with the aforesaid attributes. The reason behind these glad tidings refers to faith and good deeds, because without faith and good deeds it is impossible to receive this glad tiding. This is the best glad tidings, which has been given through the best means and through the tongue of the most revered of all creation, Prophet Muhammad. 

This sacred verse confirms that giving glad tidings to the faithful initiates a feeling of contentment within them by describing the good deeds and their rewards, thus causing it to become desirable, which makes it easier to commit these good deeds. The biggest glad tiding that men can obtain is the motivation and ability to do these good deeds. Thus, this is the foremost and the basic glad tiding; next to this is the glad tiding given at the time of death, and then comes the glad tiding of the rewards they would receive in jannah, which is full of bounties. So, we beg for the blessings of Allah.

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