Archive for the Ibn Kathir Category

In the Shade of Laylat al-Qadr

Posted in Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, Ibn Kathir, Ramadan, Sayyid Qutb on September 13, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

1 – The Meaning of Qadr

Ibn Hajar said in ‘Fath al-Bari’ (4/323-324):

“There are various explanations of the meaning of the qadr that this night is ascribed to.

It was said that it means veneration, as in the verse: {“…and they didn’t venerate (qadar) Allah as He deserved…”} [al-An’am; 91] This refers to it being a night of veneration due to the revelation of the Qur’an taking place in it, or due to the descent of the Angels in it, or due to the blessing and mercy and forgiveness that descend in it, or that those who stay up that night in worship are venerated.

It was also said that qadr here means constriction, as in the verse: {“…and who is constricted (qadara) in his provision…”} [at-Talaq; 7] This refers to it being a night of constriction due to the exact night being hidden, or because the Earth is constricted due to the presence of such a large number of Angels.

It was also said that it is qadar, derived from the word for judgment. This refers to the fact that all the judgments of that year are made on this night…”

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Golden Chains

Posted in an-Nawawi, Ibn Kathir on July 24, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

In ‘Sahih Muslim’ (2880), Sufyan bin ‘Uyaynah narrated from Zaynab bint Abi Salamah from Habibah from Umm Habibah from Zaynab bint Jahsh that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) woke up one day and said: “Woe to the Arabs from an evil that has come closer! Today, a gap this size has formed in the wall containing Ya’juj and Ma’juj (Gog and Magog),” and Sufyan formed a circle with his fingers to demonstrate what was relayed to him. So, Zaynab asked: “O Messenger of Allah, can we be destroyed while there are righteous people among us?” He said: “Yes, if corruption becomes widespread.”

an-Nawawi commented in ‘Sharh Sahih Muslim’ (9/180):
“This chain of narration contains four female Companions – two of the Messenger of Allah’s wives and two of his step-daughters – narrating from each other in a continuous chain. And it is not known that any other hadith besides this combines four female Companions with each narrating from the other in a continuous chain.”

And Ibn Kathir mentioned the following gem in ‘Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Adhim’ (2/142):

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Four Points from Surat al-Kahf

Posted in Ibn Kathir on July 18, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

After reading ‘al-Kahf’ today, I decided to skim through Ibn Kathir’s commentary on it. Here are a few nice points I came across:

Verse 13: {“We narrate unto you their story with truth. Truly, they were young men who believed in their Lord , and We increased them in guidance.”}

Here and in the verse before it, Allah begins telling the story of a group of men who decided to believe in Him and worship Him alone, and then escaped to a cave on the outskirts of their city to save themselves from the persecution and wrongdoing of their disbelieving folk. Ibn Kathir commented on their age:

“Allah mentioned that they were young men, i.e. youths. And they are more accepting of the truth and better guided than the older men who had mired and drowned in a lifestyle of falsehood. This is why most of those who answered the call of Allah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) were youths. As for the older men of Quraysh, most of them remained upon their old way of life, and none became Muslim except a few. Likewise, it’s pointed out here that the inhabitants of this cave were a group of youths.”

Verse 18: {“And you would have thought them awake while they were asleep. And We turned them on their right and on their left sides, with their dog stretching forth his two forelegs at the entrance…”}

As these young men slept inside the cave for a miraculous length of time, their dog was stretched out at its entrance. With all the heavy subjects addressed in the Qur’an, why would Allah dedicate this verse and others to mentioning this dog?

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The Man Behind the Armor

Posted in Ibn Kathir, Original & Misc., The Lives of the Salaf on July 10, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

Salah ad-Din al-Ayyubi.

He defied the odds in an era of darkness. He set aside the criticism of those who called him crazy for wanting to do the seemingly impossible: uniting the Ummah, standing up to the Crusaders, and returning honor where it belonged. He was respected by both his friends and foes, and is perhaps one of the few men whose name evokes feelings of honor and pride in the minds of so many people in every era and place. Even the generally anti-Muslim film industry in America could not help but portray the honor and righteousness that Salah ad-Din was known for.

We all know of how he laid waste to the Crusaders and had them chasing their tails in the battles of Alexandria, Hittin, Acre, Tyre, Beirut, Nablus, Haifa, Tiberius, Gaza, ‘Asqalan, Jerusalem, and dozens of other cities and towns across Sham and North Africa. We know of Salah ad-Din the warrior.

But, who was the man behind the armor? What was he like as a person? What was he like as a Muslim? What personality does it take to carry out such heroic feats and achieve such a status?

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The Backbone that Never Breaks

Posted in Ibn Kathir, Sayyid Qutb on June 20, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

{“And from the people is he who worships Allah as if he were on an edge. If good befalls him, he is content with it. And if a trial befalls him, he turns back on his face. He loses both this world and the Hereafter. That is the clear  loss.”} [al-Hajj; 11]

Commenting on this verse, Ibn Kathir said in ‘Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Adhim’ (3/279):

“This means that he enters the religion on an edge. So, if he finds what he likes, he sticks with it. Otherwise, he retreats. al-Bukhari reported…that Ibn ‘Abbas said: “A man would come to Madinah. If his wife gave birth to a son and his mare gave birth to foals, he would say: “This is a good religion.” If his wife didn’t give birth and his mare didn’t either, he would say: “This is a terrible religion.”” And Ibn Abi Hatim reported…that Ibn ‘Abbas said: “Some bedouins would come to the Prophet and become Muslims and then they’d return to their homelands. If they returned to a year of rain, produce, and good children being born, they would say: “This religion of ours is good. So, stick to it.” If they came back to a year of hunger, bad children being born, and drought, they would say: “There is no good in this religion of ours.” So, Allah revealed this verse.”

…And ‘Abd ar-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said: “This is in regards to the hypocrite. If everything is going well for him in his life, he is consistent in his worship. If things change and go bad for him, he goes back and wavers in his worship except when things are going good. So, if a trial, hardship, test, or inconvenience befalls him, he abandons his religion and returns to kufr.””

In ‘Fi Dhilal al-Qur’an’ (4/2412), Sayyid Qutb commented on this verse by saying:

“Even if this addresses the Islamic call back then, it is an example that is repeated in every generation – this person who weighs his belief using the scales of profit and loss, thinking that he is engaged in some sort of business deal…

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Two Women Who Stood Up to Fir’awn

Posted in Ibn Kathir, Our Prisoners in Our Hearts on August 19, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

Ibn Kathir commented on the verse: {“And Allah has set forth an example for those who believe: the wife of Fir’awn, when she said: “My Lord! Build for me a home with You in Paradise, and save me from Fir’awn and his work, and save me from the wrong-doers.””} [at-Tahrim; 11]:

Qatadah said:

“Fir’awn was the most tyrannical and disbelieving person on Earth, and by Allah, his disbelief did not affect his wife when she decided to obey her Lord.”

Abu ‘Uthman an-Nahdi reported that Sulayman said:

“Fir’awn’s wife was tortured in the heat of the Sun. When her torturers would take a break and walk away, the Angels would shade her with their wings, and she would see her home in Paradise.”

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A Story of Ghayrah for Islam’s Women

Posted in Ibn Kathir, Our Prisoners in Our Hearts on August 18, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

Ibn an-Nahhas mentioned in ‘Mashari’ al-Ashwaq’ (2/143) that adh-Dhahabi said in ‘Tarikh al-Islam’:

“…In the year 98, Amir al-Mu’minin Sulayman bin ‘Abd al-Malik sought to move to Jerusalem, and he moved people and wealth there. During this time, he received the news that the Romans had attacked the coast of Homs and took a number of Muslims prisoner including a woman and her son. So, he became extremely angry and said: “There is no option but for us to fight them and for them to fight us. By Allah, I will fight them until I conquer Constantinople or die trying!”

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