Teensie-Weensie Tafsir Gems: Not a change of topic

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

In Surah An-Nahl (which the previous post was all about), Allah says:

وَالْأَنْعَامَ خَلَقَهَا ۗ لَكُمْ فِيهَا دِفْءٌ وَمَنَافِعُ وَمِنْهَا تَأْكُلُونَ

وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا جَمَالٌ حِينَ تُرِيحُونَ وَحِينَ تَسْرَحُونَ

وَتَحْمِلُ أَثْقَالَكُمْ إِلَىٰ بَلَدٍ لَّمْ تَكُونُوا بَالِغِيهِ إِلَّا بِشِقِّ الْأَنفُسِ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ لَرَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

وَالْخَيْلَ وَالْبِغَالَ وَالْحَمِيرَ لِتَرْكَبُوهَا وَزِينَةً ۚ وَيَخْلُقُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

وَعَلَى اللَّـهِ قَصْدُ السَّبِيلِ وَمِنْهَا جَائِرٌ ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ لَهَدَاكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ

And the cattle, He has created them for you; in them there is warmth (warm clothing), and numerous benefits, and of them you eat. And wherein is beauty for you, when you bring them home in the evening, and as you lead them forth to pasture in the morning. And they carry your loads to a land that you could not reach except with great trouble to yourselves. Truly, your Lord is full of Kindness, Most Merciful.

And (He has created) horses, mules and donkeys, for you to ride and as an adornment. And He creates (other) things of which you have no knowledge.

And upon Allah is the responsibility to explain the Straight Path (i.e. Islamic Monotheism for mankind i.e. to show them legal and illegal, good and evil things, etc. so, whosoever accepts the guidance, it will be for his own benefit and whosoever goes astray, it will be for his own destruction), but there are ways that turn aside (such as Paganism, Judaism, Christianity, etc.). And had He willed, He would have guided you all (mankind).

[Surah An-Nahl (16) : 5-9]

Now, you may have noticed that the topic seems to jump from one thing to another in this set of verses. First, there is a discussion about cattle and other animals. And then the topic suddenly changes to the Straight Path.

However, in reality, there is no change in topic.

Imam Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) stated in his explanation of Ayah 9:

“When Allah mentioned the animals which may be used for the purpose of physical journeys, He also referred to the moral, religious routes that people may follow. Often in the Quran there is a shift from physical or tangible things to beneficial spiritual and religious matters, as when Allah says,

﴿وَتَزَوَّدُواْ فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى﴾

(And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is Taqwa (piety, righteousness).) (2:197) And,

﴿يَـبَنِى آدَمَ قَدْ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ لِبَاسًا يُوَرِى سَوْءَتِكُمْ وَرِيشًا وَلِبَاسُ التَّقْوَى ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ﴾

(O Children of Adam! We have granted clothing for you to cover yourselves, as well as for adornment; but the raiment of righteousness, that is better.) (7:26) Since Allah mentioned cattle and other such animals in this Surah, all of which are ridden or can be used in any way necessary, carrying people’s necessities for them to distant places and on difficult journeys – then He mentions the ways which people follow to try to reach Him, and explains that the right way is the one that does reach Him. He says:

﴿وَعَلَى اللَّهِ قَصْدُ السَّبِيلِ﴾

(And it is up to Allah to show the right way.) This is like the Ayaat,

﴿وَأَنَّ هَـذَا صِرَطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَن سَبِيلِهِ﴾

(And verily, this is My straight path, so follow it, and do not follow the (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path.) (6:153) and,

﴿قَالَ هَذَا صِرَطٌ عَلَىَّ مُسْتَقِيمٌ ﴾

((Allah) said: “This is the way which will lead straight to Me.”) (15:41)

﴿وَعَلَى اللَّهِ قَصْدُ السَّبِيلِ﴾

(And it is up to Allah to show the right way.) Mujahid said: “The true way is up to Allah.”

﴿وَعَلَى اللَّهِ قَصْدُ السَّبِيلِ﴾

(And it is up to Allah to show the right way.) Al-Awfi said that Ibn Abbas said: “It is up to Allah to clarify, to explain the guidance and misguidance.” This was also reported by Ali bin Abi Talhah, and was also the opinion of Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak. Hence Allah said:

﴿وَمِنْهَا جَآئِرٌ﴾

(But there are ways that stray.) meaning they deviate from the truth. Ibn Abbas and others said: “These are the different ways,” and various opinions and whims, such as Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism. Ibn Masud recited it as (وَمِنْكُمْ جَائِرٌ) “But among you are those who stray. ” Then Allah tells us that all of that happens by His will and decree. He says:

﴿وَلَوْ شَآءَ لَهَدَاكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ﴾

(And had He willed, He would have guided you all.) And Allah says:

﴿وَلَوْ شَآءَ رَبُّكَ لآمَنَ مَن فِى الاٌّرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا﴾

(If your Lord had willed, then all who are in the earth would have believed.) (10:99)

﴿وَلَوْ شَآءَ رَبُّكَ لَجَعَلَ النَّاسَ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلاَ يَزَالُونَ مُخْتَلِفِينَ ﴾

إِلاَّ مَن رَّحِمَ رَبُّكَ وَلِذلِكَ خَلَقَهُمْ وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَةُ رَبّكَ لاَمْلاَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ

(And if your Lord had so willed, He could surely, have made humanity one Ummah, but they will not stop disagreeing. Except those for whom your Lord has granted mercy. And it is for this that He did create them; and the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled (i.e. His saying): “Surely, I shall fill Hell with Jinn and men all together.”) (11:118-119).”

So, as you can see the topic remains the same: routes or journeys. The animals part was about physical journeys and the guidance part was about the religious journey.

This is something to think about whilst we are reciting the Quran and come across what we perceive to be a shift in topic. In reality, it might be the same topic but often we don’t realise that, simply because many of us don’t spend enough time with the Book of Allah.

There’s half of this Ramadan left. So for those of you who haven’t spent much time with the Quran this month, there’s still time to rectify the situation.

Please do share this with others, baarakallahu feek.Print this pageEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

2 thoughts on “Teensie-Weensie Tafsir Gems: Not a change of topic”

  1. Asslam Alikom wa rahmatullah w barakatuhu

    Eid Mubarak Ukhti,  May Allah accepts your good deeds

    i like your blog a lot  Ukhti, May Allah accept it and reward you Jannah,  your family&whom you love. And i wanted to tell you i supplicated  a lot in Ramadan that Allah rewards you and I love. you for the sake of  Allah for what you’re writing.

    Actually,  i would like to share the Ajr of that blog or any of your blogs with you through searching for informations ,  images,  hadiths,  ayat,  tafsir,  tadaburs,  even translation as i am fresh graduate of an Azhar University  English translation department  and this blog benefits me alot,  .  Allah showed me this blog in ramadan and especially tafsir assadi,  i was looking for it in english for my relatives because they are foreigners.
    And i thought i would like to share the ajr of this dawah, and qura’n’s rulings either tafsir or tadbur. So i contacted you to see if there is an opportunity to help you.
    I really like your blogs either dose of iman, tafseer, bidaayah, may Allah accept them all.
    I will be very happy if you contact me and more happier if you agree and accept my little help

    Jazaki Allah khyran.  Eid Mubarak. Takabbal Allah

    1. Wa Alaikum Assalam Wa Rahmathullah Wa Barakathuh Sister.

      Please forgive me for the late reply.

      Eid mubarak to you too!

      May He for whose sake you love me, love you.

      Jazakillahu kheira for the kind comments and for the duas. I really appreciate it and I’m glad that my blogs were useful to you.

      Jazakillahu kheira as well for the offer to help. It’s very kind of you. However, I work on the blogs on my own because I learn more that way and also because it’s easier to do so. Coordinating with someone else takes a lot of time and effort and I work on the blog on my own time so it would be very difficult.

      As for the gaining ajr, then alhamdulillah there are many ways to do that. You could forward the posts or any books linked in a post, for example. You could also share a hadeeth that you found on the blog on a WhatsApp group. That’s a really easy way to gain lots of ajr.

      Jazakillahu kheira once again for the encouragement and your offer to help.

      Take care.

      Baarakallahu feek.

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