Tafseer Taha : Ayat 112-114

Link to video on Muslimmatters

Recap:

  • today’s ayaat serve as a very appropriate summary of the overall tone and message of the surah
  • they’re very central to the theme and subject matter of the surah
  • previously, Allah spoke about the Day of Judgment and its conditions and what will transpire with people
  • in Ayat 111 Allah talks about the people who fail this test and exam and they will suffer the consequences of their choies and actions on Day of Judgment
  • in AYat 112, Allah talks about the flip side
  • many different places in Quran, Allah will talk about successful people and then people who fail
  • sometimes Allah will mention first the people who fail and then the successful people and vice versa
  • sequence is of great significance in the Book of Allah
  • it has a connection to what is mentioned previously and afterwards
  • in Ayat 111
  • 20:111
    وَعَنَتِ الْوُجُوهُ لِلْحَيِّ الْقَيُّومِ ۖ وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ حَمَلَ ظُلْمًا
    Sahih International

    And [all] faces will be humbled before the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence. And he will have failed who carries injustice.

  • those faces will be disgraced before Al hayy Al Qayyoom, and that person will be without any level of success or benefit, he lived in darkness or oppression whether it be through shirk or sinning or amongst other people
  • then Allah follows it up immediately with good news, inspiration, motivation
  • the tone of the surah is to console Prophet saw and strength the resolve of the believers
  • so Allah briefly mentions that this will transpire with some people but then He immediately counters that with the blessings some people will receive
  • what follows after that is resuming the consolation of Prophet saw

Ayat 112

20:112
Sahih International

But he who does of righteous deeds while he is a believer – he will neither fear injustice nor deprivation.

  • وَمَن يَعْمَلْ = and whosoever regularly does
  • يَعْمَلْ is present/future tense verb
  • one implication of this verb is that it implies an action renewing and continuing
  • an action rejuvenates itself
  • when you hear someone continues to do it makes you go back on your heels and go “wow..how can I measure up to that?”
  • but Allah is looking for quality, not quantity
  • مِنَ الصَّالِحَاتِ =
  • الصَّالِحَاتِ is an adjective for the noun الأعمَال
  • and how the adjective for a plural should be a singular feminine
  • so it should have been الصَّلِحَةِ
  • but here it’s feminine plural -: الصَّالِحَاتِ
  • this is abnormal and usually when something is abnormal it’s like a red flag to capture our attention
  • it usually has to do with quantity of things, where a plural thing is brought to signify that it’s plural but very few
  • scholars go as far as saying that when this happens, it usually implies a number between 3 and 9
  • it’s not quantifying deeds to that limit but generally using it as an exception
  • “just a few dozen or so deeds”
  • it’s stating that not a whole lot is being asked of you
  • Allah’s never-ending mercy is that Allah even preceded that with the word مِنَ
  • مِنَ is to show a portion of something [مِن لِتَبعِيض]
  • Allah omits the word الأعمَال itself to not focus on the deeds and the quantity, but to focus on the quality
  • in 3 different ways here Allah is saying don’t worry about quantity just focus on quality
  1. abnormal feminine plural adjective used instead of feminine singular plural adjective, for a plural noun
  2. use of the word مِن
  3. omission of the word الأعمَال
  • whoever continues to work to do just a little bit, مِن , just a little bit of a few of quality deeds الصَّالِحَاتِ
  • this is directly explained and laid out in the beautiful words of Prophet saw where he said “the best of actions are the ones that are done consistently even if they be very little”
  • the key word is consistency
  • we’ve reached a point now where it’s pertinent that we look n the mirror and measure our consistency, istiqaamah
  • The Prophet saw said in another narration , “the most heaviest of ayaat that was revealed to me was the ayat فَاستَقِم كَمَا اُمِرت”
  • don’t just do what you’ve been told but have consistency on what you’ve been told
  • read the middle part of Surah 41 (Fussilat)
  • it’s a beautiful address from Allah on how He will shower His blessings on the believers but Allah only states 2 qualities He’s looking for :- believer who;s not ashamed of proclaiming his belief, and they had consistency
  • وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ
  • the وَ here is وَاو حَالِيَه ;- that he is in a state of being a believer
  • ‘he’ includes the women as well, this is a universal address
  • Allah uses ‘believer’ in the nominal form as a noun => a consistent steadfast believer
  • typically in the Quran when it’s said إنَّ الّذِينَ اَمَنُو وَعَمِلُو الصَّالِحَات where iman is stated before اعمَال, but when iman is stated before اعمَال, Allah uses the verb form “those who claim belief, and then they follow it up by trying to do the best deed possible” (they have to qualify themselves as believers through their good deeds)
  • here, Allah flips the format where He talks about deeds first and iman second
  • when this happens, Allah uses the word iman in the noun form, not the verb form
  • what this states is how we find consistency ?
  • how do find consistency through iman?
  • what will keep you as a believer is consistency of your good deeds
  • this process is cyclical and circular, feeds right back to back into one another
  • the more you focus on consistency, it will strengthen your iman and the more your iman is strengthened the more consistency you will find [ this is the core of the message here]
  • whoever meets these qualifications, فَلَا يَخَافُ ظُلْمًا = then he will not fear, not now(dunya) nor in the future (akhirah)
  • ظُلْمًا here is being used in specific meaning based on context = he will not fear violation of his rights (if he has certain rights upon someone, his rights will be fulfilled )
  • in surah Maryam, at the end,
    19:96
    Sahih International

    Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection. [Maryam 19:96]

  •  وُدًّا is unconditional love
  • Allah didn’t say وُدَّهُ = His love, but it;s love from all sides, from people creation, angels, and especially from Allah, in this dunya and akhirah
  • famous hadith where Allah says “I Love so and so so you love him” and Jibril announces to the inhabitants of the heavens “Allah loves him and so you love him,” and then that is brought down to earth and spread to everything
  • in a hadeeth that talks about طَالِبُ العلم , someone who seeks understanding of his religion, “even the angels they lay their wings down out of pleasure, happiness, satisfaction with this student/seeker of knowledge”
  • the same narration , Prophet saw said, “everything that inhabits the heavens and earth seeks forgiveness for this person even the whales in the oceans and fish in the sea” and in one narration it mentions, “even the ants”
  • this love pours on to this person from all sides
  • this works on the flip side as well
  • when someone disobeys Allah,  lives a life of darkness of oppression, he’s not only incurring the wrath of Allah, but he also incurs the wrath and ill sentiment from all the creations
  • a man came to Abu Hurayrah and said, “إنَّ ظَالِمَ لاَ يَضُرُّ إلاَّ نَفسَه[an oppressor only harms himself]”. Abu Hurayrah corrected him and said “كَلاَّ، بَل إنَّ الحُبَارَ لَتَمُوتُ فِي وَكرِهَا لِظُلمِ الظَالِم[Absolutely not! Rather, even birds die hungry sitting in their nests because of the darkness of this oppressor]”
  • the human being is the focal point of this dunya and Allah’s creation, so when he violates command of Allah, such anger and wrath of Allah descends on earth and creation around this human being suffer and as a consequence they curse this human being
  • وَلَا هَضْمًا = nor will he fear any infringements upon his space or rights or being
  • There are 2 things when we talk about our rights
  • there are some things that I’m due from someone else – when I leave my home, I’m somewhat prepared for someone doing something wrong or bad to me (that possibility is there so have to be somewhat prepared), but when I’m in my own home, there’s a certain level of comfort I feel, and how much more painful, terrorizing is it to feel that someone might come into my personal space and harm me and violate my own safe zone => so this person no longer has to fear any violation in public of personal space, no one will lay a hand upon him harmfully.
  • Allah emphasizes this by repeating the [فَلَا يَخَافُ ظُلْمًا وَلَا هَضْمًا].
  • This is very powerful ; the type of security provided by Allah in this dunya and akhirah. But if one says, how come then believers and sahabah and Prophet saw suffered? That’s a test but it always ends well and in Akhirah, they will never again have to worry about being violated.
  • After providing this type of encouragement, not Allah speaks to Prophet saw and by extension there are lessons for us as well

Ayat 113

20:113
Sahih International

And thus We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an and have diversified therein the warnings that perhaps they will avoid [sin] or it would cause them remembrance.

  • وَكَذَٰلِكَ = and just like that
  • when this type of mention is there, it’s the classical Arabic equivalent of what we would say ‘according to the aforementioned/in accordance to what has been mentioned above/previously’
  •  أَنزَلْنَاهُ
  • what is the ‘it’ referring to?
  •  in Ayat 99, Allah talks about ذِكرَى [a reminder]
  • just like everything you’ve read so far in the first 112 ayaat, We have sent it down, that reminder , قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا this is the role of Quran in our lives
  • Allah adds an adjective عَرَبِيًّا => the Arabic Quran
  • the adjective has been attached and can’t be separated from the Quran
  • Quran is in Arabic
  • benefit of mentioning this
  • 3 layers/take-away lessons (but there’s probably hundreds more mentioned by o and more will be unfolded, because after all this is speech of Allah, the benefits are never-ending)
  • if we put in historical context, this is Allah recounting His favor and blessings upon the people Prophet saw was addressing (the Arabs at that time)_
  • they’re being told look at the type of selection Allah has made for you, Allah chose everyone but on top of that there is a special selection for you, you are the first to interact directly with the miracle of God
  • even the muballighoon would pose (when studying balaaghah) :- when the Arabs at time of Prophet saw heard this, these nuances that blow our minds, that rejuvenates our iman, were they able to understand it just like that and process all of this? Yes! it’s their language. that’s what they’re culture and pride are based on
  • So Allah is saying how blessed they are
  • they can truly appreciate its beauty and power at least linguistically even if not spiritually
  • if they read it at least they are dumbfounded
  • 1. as a consequence of that, Allah is also doing what we call إتمَامُ الحُجَّه [completing the proof against these people]. They have no  excuse
  • Maybe a simple man 1400 years later who didn’t have access to the Quran or access to someone to teach him Arabic and struggle to understand Quran, that man has some type of an excuse
  • Sheikh talks about the Global Deaf Muslims from 25:45 – 31:20
  • Allah is letting them know that the Quran is in their language and they understand it and they no longer have an excuses. This is an address to the people but to the leadership as well
  • at every place and time it will be the responsibility of the scholars (who are they? the inheritors of the prophets)
  • what comes with knowledge is also responsibility
  • it will the responsibility to make sure they clearly lay out the message of the Quran in the language of the people
  • the leadership have no grounds to criticize the people”Have I completely applied myself in every way possible to make the Quran understandable to the people? Otherwise, what right do I have to say how terrible they are.”
  • story of Tufayl ad Dawsi (a sahabi). He was genius of his people. He came to Prophet saw and accepted Islam. He was so renowned in his intelligence that the Quraysh welcomed him, even though they were the elite of the elite. They made a welcome party for him. WHile welcoming him they also offered a bit of a disclaimer (because they didn’t want hm to get a bad impression of Makkah) that there was a crazy guy running around and he says this and that, whatever you do don’t listen to him.
  • Eventually, Tufayl had his guard out and was sitting at the Kaabah and the Prophet saw came to pray and Tufayl looked him up and down and thought that he didn’t seem like much of a trouble maker, but he kept his distance anyway. Then he thought to himself, “You’re the smartest person you know! You won’t get caught up in some fancy words. If anything you’ll be doing these Quraysh a favor. Ok, what do I have to lose?”
  • He never thought about what he had to gain. He went to talk to Prophet saw and ended p accepted Islam. AFter all he was a genius(like magicians knowing that the miracles of Musa a.s. was not magic , since they were the experts who can aptly assess this) and he knew what he was listening to is not human thought or human creation
  • So Prophet saw educates him on the basics etc and he went back to the people (lived very far away) and he shows up again in a few weeks (time it takes to travel there stays a few days and travel back).
  • Prophet saw surprised to see him so quickly. Tufayl said, “I went back to them, I told them and they didn’t believe. Make dua Allah destroys them.”
  • he specifically uses the word “غَلَبَت عَلَيهِم الزِّنََى وَالخَمر[fornication and wine  has taken over these people] “
  • the sahabah who were sitting and listening said that when Tufayl said “make dua Allah destroys these people”, Prophet saw raised his hands for dua. Sahabah basically went “Oh Snap!”
  • Prophet saw said “Oh Allah guide the people of Daws.”
  • then he (saw) told Tufayl “now you go back to your people and behave yourself. Win their hearts.”
  • Tufayl went back and obeyed instructions of Prophet saw and the sahabah said they didnt see him for another decade and the next time they saw him was right after battle of Khaybar
  • while they were wrapping up they saw Tufayl walking up. “Where’ve you been Ya Tufayl?”
  • a lot of people were walking behind him
  • he said, “I’ve come with my people to accept Islam from the Prophet saw”
  • 2. it’s the responsibility of the leadership of every time and place to clearly explain the message to people
  • 3. importance of learning the Arabic language at any level possible
  • whatever is available to you, avail the opportunity
  • people have sacrificed a lot, there are people from Singapore in the Quran Intensive mashaaAllah
  • it’s from our deen to learn the language of the Quran
  • it’s an obligation for a person to learn whatever is available to her within his/her capacity
  • ‘Super Star Culture of Seeking Knowledge’
  • shaytaan can use that against us and does use that against us
  • he will present a home-run option to you and convince you of the fact that it’s either that or nothing at all ; that if I can’t achieve that then I guess I can’t do it
  • Shaytaan is tricky, he won’t tell you that but the thought process will be “That’s what I wanna do, I want to study in Egypt, I want to study in Egypt, I want to study in Egypt.”
  • that’s a very noble intention and we all make dua Allah makes that possible
  • but it’s not happening right now and there is an Arabic class going on at your masjid, but this person still insists he wants to go to Egypt
  • there is an Arabic teacher living next door, and an online class going on
  • first do whatever is within your means and what is available to you
  • never underestimate the progress of what you can achieve by doing it
  • it’s the practice of our scholarship for 1400 years, they would first start seeking knowledge in their area with their family and scholars available in their areas  then they would travel
  • stories of Imam Bukhari traveling around the world, but first he started in his neighborhood
  • in classical times, if you show up on a scholar’s door step to study and learn, he would first ask you where you’re  from and asks what he already knows and you say , “nothing, I came here to learn.”
  • the scholar would say “I personally know this person and that person in your area, why don’t you study with them? Go. you’re just someone looking to post a flashy Facebook status. You’re just someone who wants to start a blog. You’re not a student of Ilm.”
  • Sheikh studied 3 years of Arabic locally before going overseas to study
  • don’t underestimate the opportunities available to you
  • a test of sincerity => making the most of what you have right now
  •  وَصَرَّفْنَا فِيهِ مِنَ الْوَعِيدِ = We have provided many different ways and warnings in different shapes and forms
  • whether it be through pondering of historical context or in text , within signs in the world around you, within yourselves
  •  لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ => this is the reason why We have done all these
  • so they will become God-conscious
  • or at the very least :-أَوْ يُحْدِثُ لَهُمْ ذِكْرًا  = the reminder will be renewed for them
  • إحدَاث = to refresh something, reinvent something
  • a reminder has to be refreshed for them
  • reminder has to be provided again and again through creative means
  • this is proof from Quran that we have to learn to be creative in our education, dawah, presentation
  • learn to be very creative
  • be creative for them with the reminder
  • look how creative Allah is, how many ways story of Musa a.s. mentioned, how many different ways it’s mentioned
  • in one place, Allah said بِشهَابِ قَبَس , in another  بِجَذوَة مِن النَّار , in one place  بِقَبَس,
  • so many ways Allah tells the same story
  • showing different perspectives, for us, so we need to do that too for others

 

 

Ayat 114

20:114
 Sahih International

So high [above all] is Allah , the Sovereign, the Truth. And, [O Muhammad], do not hasten with [recitation of] the Qur’an before its revelation is completed to you, and say, “My Lord, increase me in knowledge.”

  • What is all this for, what’s the purpose, what is the final goal and final objective, focus? فَتَعَالَى اللَّهُ = most exalted is Allah
  • تَعَالى is the hyperbolized version of عُلُو
  • عُلُو means for something to be exalted
  • so تَعَالى is MOST exalted
  • so that is the goal of everything, all the preaching, creativity, etc is for Allah
  • the purpose of all preaching and teaching is Allah
  • that’s what we’re calling towards, that’s what the focal point is
  • the second we’re calling to anything other than Allah, it’s not a noble endeavor any longer
  • Who is Allah?  الْمَلِكُ = the King of all kings, the One whose kingdom has no end
  • بِيَدِهِ المُلك = everything is in His hand
  • لاَ تَنفُذُونَ إلاَّ بِسُلطَان =
  • فَانفُذُو مِن اقطَارِ السّمَاوَاتِ وَلأَرضِ = Go beyond the heavens and the earth and try to leave the jurisdiction of Allah, you will never be able to leave the jurisdiction of Allah
  •  الْحَقُّ = the truth, Allah is the truth
  • not the One who speaks, command, the truth but HE IS the truth!
  • وَلَا تَعْجَلْ بِالْقُرْآنِ = and don’t rush with regards to the Quran
  • مِن قَبْلِ أَن يُقْضَىٰ إِلَيْكَ وَحْيُهُ = before its revelation is completed towards you
  • don’t rush with regards to the Quran before it has been completely revealed to you

2 tafseer of this ayah and both are valid (part of beauty of Quran, it’s talking about 2 things at once):-

1. mentioned in another place, in Surah Qiyaamah where Allah tells Prophet saw

75:16
Sahih International

Move not your tongue with it, [O Muhammad], to hasten with recitation of the Qur’an.

75:17
Sahih International

Indeed, upon Us is its collection [in your heart] and [to make possible] its recitation.

75:18
Sahih International

So when We have recited it [through Gabriel], then follow its recitation.

75:19
Sahih International

Then upon Us is its clarification [to you].

  • when revelation first came, Prophet saw would  begin to recite it quickly because he didn’t want to forget it, while Jibril was sending it down

2. it fits a bit better with the theme of the surah. Prophet saw’s primary defense /main resource/emotional support  for dealing with animosity, difficulty is the Quran

  • when he (saw) was experiencing difficulty, he would look forward for more revelation to come
  • this is sign of loving, wanting something
  • prophet saw had so much love and strong desire to engage with book of Allah and receive more of it, but this was also his primary resource for him
  • he was looking for more support and resource
  • but Allah is telling him (saw) to put more trust in Allah, He will send you what he (saw) when he (saw) needs it

 

  • وَقُل رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا = but what you can do is say “Increase me through this knowledge”
  • “make me better through this knowledge”
  • I want this knowledge so I can better myself
  • that’s the other part of the objective , that when we seek knowledge, take the most of what you have available and be sincere, it’s to grow and become a better person through it
  • we should never lose sight of that
  • when I’m not improving in my character but can improve in the number of things I can quote in Arabic, I’m not benefiting from what I’m learning
  • as a conclusion, Prophet saw taught us the dua “الّلَهُمَّ إنِّي اسأَلُكَ عِلمََا نَافِعََا = Oh Allah I ask you for beneficial knowledge”
  • and also “الّلهُمَّ إنِّي اعُوذُبِكَ مِن عِلمِ لاَ يَنفَع = Oh Allah I take refuge with you from knowledge that does not benefit”

 

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