Tafsir al-Qurtubi – Book Sample
Introduction- Tafsir al-Qurtubi
In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, Most Merciful
We seek His help and may Allah bless our master Muhammad and his family and Companions and grant them abundant peace. Praise belongs to Allah who began by praising Himself before any praiser praised Him!
I testify that there is no god but Allah alone with no partner, the Lord who is One and Self-Sustaining, the Living, Self-Subsistent who does not die, the Master of Majesty and Nobility and immense gifts, He who has spoken the Qur’an, He who created the human being and blessed him with faith and sent His Messenger Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with the clarification.
He sent him with the Clear Book which distinguishes between doubt and certainty which eloquent men cannot oppose and intelligent men cannot contradict.
They cannot bring its like, even if they help one another. He made its examples lesson for those who reflect on them and His commands guidance for those who study them. In it, He explains the obligatory judgments and differentiates the lawful and unlawful.
In it, He repeats admonitions and stories for under standing and different types of metaphors and reports about matters of the Unseen.
The Almighty says, ”We have not omitted anything from the Book.” (6:38) He addresses it to His friends and they understand, and He explains to them what He means in it and they know it. So those who recite the Qur’an bear a concealed secret of Allah and guard His preserved knowledge.
They are the khalifs of His Prophets and His trustees, who are His people, elite and chosen ones. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah has placed two kinds of people among us.”
They asked, “Who are they, Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “They are the people of the Qur’an, the people of Allah and His elite.” ((Ibn Majah and Abu Bakr al-Bazzar))
Anyone who knows the Book of Allah and remembers what has been explained to him in it should be restrained by its prohibitions and fear Allah, be mindful of Him and be ashamed before Him. He has taken on the burdens of the Messengers and has become a wit ness in the Rising against the opponents among the people of other religions. Allah Almighty said, “In this way We have made you a middlemost community, so that you may act as witnesses against mankind.” ((2:143)) The argument is against the one who knows it and neglects it, more than against the one who is lacking in it and ignorant of it.
If someone is given knowledge of the Qur’ an and does not benefit from it, is not constrained by its prohibitions and is not deterred by it and commits ugly sins and vile crimes, the Qur’ an is an argument against him. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The Qur’ an is an argument for you or against you.” ((Muslim))
Therefore it is obligatory for anyone chose by Allah to memo rise His Book to have proper respect for it, reflect on the truth of its words, understand its marvels and clarify what is unusual in it. The Almighty says, “It is a Book We have sent down to you, full of blessings, so let people of intelligence ponder its Signs” ((38:29)) and ‘Will they not then ponder the Qur’an or are there locks upon their hearts?” (47:24)
May Allah make us among those who respect it properly, reflect on it deeply, implement its justice, fulfil its conditions, and do not seek guidance elsewhere. May He guide us to its outward signs and radiant definitive judgments and by it combine for us the best of this world and the Next! He is worthy to be feared and entitled to forgive.
Then He gave to His Messenger clarification of what was unspecified, explanation of what was difficult, and determination of what was probable, so that, as well as conveying the Message, he showed his special competence in the Revelation which was entrusted to him. Allah says, “And We have sent down the Reminder to you so that you can make clear to mankind what has been sent down to them.” ((16:44)) Then, after the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, the scholars were appointed to extract the meanings which it indicates and to point out its principles in order that through ijtihad they may reach the knowledge of what is meant.
By that, they were distinguished from others and they are singled out for reward on account of their efforts. Allah Almighty says, ”Allah will raise in rank those of you who believe and those who have been given knowledge.” (58:11) So the Book became the basis and the Sunna its clarification and the deduction of the scholars its exposition and elucidation.
Praise be to Allah Who has made our breasts the vessels of His Book, our ears the springs of the Sunna of His Prophet, and our aspirations directed to learning the Qur’an and investigating its meanings and unusual words, and by that seeking to please the Lord of the worlds and, by it, to rise to knowledge of the din.
The Book of Allah is the source of all the sciences of the Shari’a which convey the Sunna and the obligatory. It was brought down by the Trustworthy One of heaven to the Trustworthy One of the earth. I thought that I should devote myself to it for my entire life and devote my strength to that cause by writing a brief commentary on it containing some points of tafsir, linguistics, gram mar, and recitations, refutation of the people of deviation and misguidance as well as several Ahadith which attest to what we mention regarding judgments and the revelation of Ayats, thereby combining the meanings of both and explaining what is abstruse in them using the statements of the Sala/ and those who followed them.
I have done this to remind myself and as a security for the day when I am buried and as a righteous action after my death. Allah says, “On that Day man will be told what he did and failed to do” (75:13) and “Each self will know what it has sent ahead and left behind.” (82:5) The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “When a man dies, his actions are cut off except for three – an on going Sadaqa and knowledge which brought a benefit and a virtuous child who makes supplication for him.”
I intend in this book to attribute statements to their speakers and ahadith to their compilers. It is said that part of the blessing of knowledge is to ascribe a statement to its speaker.
Many ahadith are reported in books of tafsir and fiqh unattributed and so the one who reads them does not know who transmitted them. Therefore someone without information about that remains confused and does not know the sound from the weak. It is a vast science.
Therefore he does not accept it as evidence until he knows to whom it is ascribed among the famous imams and reliable scholars of Islam. We have indicated some of that in this book. Allah is the one who grants success. I have only used those stories of commentators and reports of historians which are necessary for clarification.
Its title is The General Judgements of the Qur’an and Clarification of what it contains the Sunna and Ayats of Discrimination. May Allah make it sincerely for His sake and grant me and my parents the benefit of it. He hears the supplication and is quick to respond. Amen.
The General Virtues of the Qur’an and encouragement to study it. The excellence of the one who seeks it recites it listens to it and acts by it.
This topic is vast and scholars have written many books on it. We will mention some points which point out the excellence of the Qur’an and what Allah has prepared for its people when they are sincere for His sake and act by it. The first aspect of the excellence of the Qur’an that the believer should be aware of is that it is from the Lord of the worlds and is uncreated. It consists of unparalleled words and has a quality that has no equivalent or likes. It comes from the light of Allah’s Essence.
Recitation is the voices of the reciters and their tunes. It is their acquisition, and they are commanded to do it as an obligation in certain acts of worship and it is recommended at many times. They are forbidden to recite it when they are in a state of major impurity and are rewarded for doing it and punished for abandoning it. This is part of what the Muslims, the people of the Truth, agree on. Traditions state that and well known reports prove it.
Reward and punishment are only connected to what is part of what people earn, as will be explained. Were it not that Allah had placed in the hearts of His slaves the strength to bear it so that they can reflect on it, study it and remember what it contains His obedience, worship, and performing His duties and obligations, they would be too weak and would collapse under its weight or perish.
How could they bear it when Allah says, “Had We sent down this Qur’an onto a mountain, you would have seen it hum bled, crushed to pieces out of fear of Allah” ((59:21))? What is the strength of hearts compared to that of the mountains? But Allah provided His slaves with the strength to bear what He wishes as a favour and mercy from Him.
As for traditions about this topic, the first is what at-Tirmidhi transmitted from Abu Sa ‘id that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The blessed and exalted Lord said, ‘If anyone is distracted from asking Me by the Qur’ an and remembering Me, I will give him better than what I give the askers.”‘ He also said, “The excellence of the words of Allah over all other words is like the excellence of Allah over His creation.” (Hasan Gharib Hadith) As-Samarqandi reported in his Musnad that ‘Abdullah said, “The seven long suras are like the Torah. The [suras with] a hundred ayats are like the Gospel. and the Mathanz is like the Zabur. The rest of the Qur’an is excellent.”
In at-Tirmidhi, ‘Ali reported, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘There will be trials like patches of dark night.’ I asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, how can one escape them?’ He replied, ‘The Book of Allah, Blessed and Exalted, contains your history, information about what came before you, news about what will come after you, and correct judgement between you. It is decisive, not a jest. Allah will crush any tyrant who abandons it and Allah will misguide whoever seeks guidance from other than it. It is the Firm Rope of Allah, His Clear Light, and the Wise Reminder. It is the Straight Path.
Passions are not misguided by it, the tongues do not become sated with it, and the god-fearing do not become bored by it. It does not wear out when it is recited a lot and its wonders do not cease. It is that which the jinn did not leave once they had heard it. They said, ”We heard a wonderful Qur’an which guides to right guidance.” ((72:1- 2)) Whoever knows it has knowledge that takes precedence. Whoever utters it speaks the truth. Whoever judges by it is just. Whoever acts by it is rewarded. Whoever calls to it is guided to a straight path. Take it, one-eyed.'” 1
Al-Anbari says in his book, The Refutation of the One who Opposes the Recension of ‘Uthman, transmitting from ‘Abdullah ibn Mas ‘ud, that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “This Qur’ an is the Banquet of Allah. Learn as much as you can from His banquet. This Qur’ an is the Rope of Allah, and it is the Clear Light and Useful Healing. It is a protection for the one who clings to it and a rescue for the one who fol lows it. It is not crooked and so puts things straight.
It does not deviate so as to be blamed. Its wonders do not cease. It does not wear out with many repetitions. So recite it. Allah will reward you with ten good deeds for every letter of its recitation. I do not say that Alif-Laam-Miim is a letter nor two alifs, one placing its foot on the other.
You should not stop reciting Surat al-Baqara. Shaytan flees from a house in which Surat al-Baqara is recited. The house most devoid of good is a house empty of the Book of Allah.” In Gharib Abu ‘Ubayd quotes ‘Abdullah (ibn Mas’ud): “This Qur’an is the Banquet of Allah. Whoever enters it is safe.”
He said, “The interpretation of the hadith is that it is a metaphor. The Qur’an is likened to something Allah has prepared for people. They have good and benefits in it. Then He invited them to it.”
Al-Bukhari transmits from ‘Othman ibn ‘Affan that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The best of you is the one who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.” Muslim transmitted from Abu Musa that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The metaphor of a believer who recites the Qur’an is that of a citron – its scent is fra grant and its taste is good. The metaphor of a believer who does
l. This is Ibrahim an-Nakha'”i, who had one eye (a’war). not recite the Qur’ an is that of date – it has no scent but its taste is sweet. The metaphor of a hypocrite who recites the Qur’an is that of basil – its scent is fragrant but its taste is bitter. The metaphor of a hypocrite who does not recite the Qur’fill is that of colocynth – it has no scent and its taste is bitter.”
Abu Bakr al-Anbari mentioned that when someone finished the Qur’an, Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman as-Sulami would sit him before him and put his hand on his head and say to him, “You! Fear Allah! I do not know of anyone better than you if you act by what you know.” Ad-Darimi reported that Wahb ad-Dhimari said, “If Allah gives someone the Qur’ an and he stands reciting it at the ends of the night and the ends of the day and acts by what is in it and dies in obedience, on the Day of Rising Allah will raise him up with the angels and Prophets.”
Muslim related that ‘A’isha reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Someone who recites the Qur’an and is fluent in it is with the noble pious angels. Someone who recites the Qur’an and stammers in it has two rewards as it is difficult for him.” He will have one reward for the recitation and one reward for the difficulty. The levels of the fluent reciter are all above that because the Qur’an was difficult for him and then he rose beyond that to be like the angels. Allah knows best.
Tafsir al-Qurtubi – Every recitation is equal to goodness
At-Tirmidhi reports from ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’Ud that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whoever recites a letter of the Book of Allah earns a good deed, and each good deed is worth ten like it. I do not say that ‘Alif-lam mim’ is one letter, but that alif is a letter, lam is a letter, and mim is a letter.” (Hasan)
Muslim reported that ‘Uqba ibn ‘Amir said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came out to us while we were in the $ujfa and asked, ‘Which of you would like to go every day to Buthan or to al-‘Aqiq and bring two large-humped she-camels from it without wrongdoing?’ We said, ‘Messenger of Allah, all of us would like that!’ He said, ‘Does not one of you go to the mosque and teach or recite two ayats from the Book of Allah
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