Teensie-Weensie Tafsir Gems: Use the right door, please

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

Allah says:

يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْأَهِلَّةِ ۖ قُلْ هِيَ مَوَاقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَالْحَجِّ ۗ وَلَيْسَ الْبِرُّ بِأَن تَأْتُوا الْبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا وَلَـٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنِ اتَّقَىٰ ۗ وَأْتُوا الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ أَبْوَابِهَا ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

They ask you (O Muhammad) about the new moons. Say: These are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage. It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.) that you enter the houses from the back but Al-Birr (is the quality of the one) who fears Allah. So enter houses through their proper doors, and fear Allah that you may be successful. [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 189]

Imam Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) stated in his explanation of this ayah (verse):

“Allah said:

﴿وَلَيْسَ الْبِرُّ بِأَن تَأْتُواْ الْبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا وَلَـكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنِ اتَّقَى وَأْتُواْ الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ أَبْوَبِهَا﴾

(It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.) that you enter the houses from the back, but Al-Birr is from Taqwa. So enter houses through their proper doors.)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Al-Baraa said, “During the time of Jahiliyyah, they used to enter the house from the back upon assuming the Ihram. Thereafter, Allah revealed (the following Ayah):

﴿وَلَيْسَ الْبِرُّ بِأَن تَأْتُواْ الْبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا وَلَـكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنِ اتَّقَى وَأْتُواْ الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ أَبْوَبِهَا﴾

(It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.) that you enter the houses from the back but Al-Birr is from Taqwa. So enter houses through their proper doors.)

Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded the same Hadith from Al-Baraa but with the wording; “The Ansar used to enter their houses from the back when returning from a journey. Thereafter, this Ayah (2:189 above) was revealed…”

Al-Hasan said, “When some people during the time of Jahiliyyah would leave home to travel, and then decide not to travel, they would not enter the house from its door. Rather, they would climb over the back wall. Allah the Exalted said:

﴿وَلَيْسَ الْبِرُّ بِأَن تَأْتُواْ الْبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا﴾

(It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness) that you enter the houses from the back,).”

Allah’s statement:

﴿وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ﴾

(…and have Taqwa of Allah that you may be successful.) Have Taqwa of Allah, means to do what He has commanded you and refrain from what He has forbidden for you,

﴿لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ﴾

(that you may be successful.) tomorrow when you stand before Him and He thus rewards you perfectly.”

Now, if you’ve been reading the previous installments of the Tafsir Gems series, you might be wondering where exactly the “gem” was in that explanation.

Actually, the gem was not in the explanation. The gem is that this ayah (verse) gives a principle from amongst the principles of the Shariah (Islamic Law) which is:

وَأْتُوا الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ أَبْوَابِهَا

So enter houses through their proper doors

I came across this fact in the following short lecture series by my teacher, Shaikh Aziz Farhan, where he discusses some principles from the Quran. The first lecture discusses the principle mentioned above.

For those who can understand Arabic, the lecture is only 14 minutes long.

For those of who don’t know Arabic, I’ll be summarizing the main points made by the Shaikh, may Allah reward him greatly.

The first thing that he mentioned was that many scholars have pointed out that this verse was a great principle that pertained to everything like adaab (etiquettes), akhlaaq (manners), etc.

He then mentioned an example of how his principle is applied. For example, whoever wants Allah and the home of the Hereafter, needs to enter through the proper doors i.e. the door of ibaadah (worship) which is tawheed (singling out Allah for worship).

Also, the door to reaching Allah and His Pleasure is through the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). The Shaikh pointed that Allah has made the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) a door to Him, and the way to Paradise is closed except through the way of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) i.e. one can only reach Paradise by following the Sunnah.

The next example that he mentioned was with regards to seeking (Islamic) knowledge. He said that whoever wants to seek knowledge has to come to it through its door. So, one way to do that is to seek knowledge step by step (tadarruj) and not take it all in at once, and this requires patience.

Another way to seek knowledge through its doors is to seek it from its people i.e. the people of knowledge. If one seeks knowledge from ignorant people, or the younger ones, or the people of innovation then they didn’t seek knowledge through its doors.

Another example is the seeking of provision (rizq) which is also sought through its doors. So a person needs to seek halal (lawful) provision.

Another example is that of tests. So whoever is tested with illness, waswaas (Satanic whispers), fitnah (trials) or harm,  should turn to Allah, because that is the door according to the Shariah. Don’t complain to people because then it as though you are complaining about the Most Merciful to those who possess nothing. Rather, complain to Allah. That’s what the Prophets (alaihimissalaam) did.

He then mentioned that whoever enters matters through the right doors would be successful and whoever entered through the wrong doors would be destroyed.

So, that was the summary of what Shaikh Aziz said.

Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen (rahimahullah) briefly mentioned this issue as a point of benefit in his tafsir of this verse. He only mentioned one example which was that talking to a person of high status was not like talking to the rest of the people, so one needed to enter through the proper door (of wisdom and fair preaching) i.e. talk to him in the proper manner, otherwise one might not achieve their goal.

This principle made me realise how deep the Quran really is. Subhan Allah, how many of us would have figured out on our own that this verse was such a life-encompassing principle?

So, remember, enter through the right doors in all your endeavors so that you can be successful both in this world and the Hereafter.

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