Archive for the Sayyid Qutb 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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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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Maslahat ad-Da’wah: An Idol Worshipped Instead of Allah

Posted in Sayyid Qutb on February 18, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

“…And zeal, fervor, and the incessant desire to spread and aid the da’wah can drive those involved in da’wah after the Messengers to use the help of some people while from the start overlooking inseparable implications and aspects of the da’wah that they think are not essential, and they compromise with them in some matters so that they wouldn’t be turned away and oppose the da’wah!

Likewise, they might be driven to use methods that don’t measure up to the specific scales or firm manhaj of the da’wah. They do this out of a desire to aid and spread the da’wah quickly, and in an effort to fulfill what they call ‘maslahat ad-da’wah’ (the interest of the da’wah). The true maslahat ad-da’wah is that it remain firm on the manhaj without deviating in the least. As for the outcome, this is from the matters of the Unseen that none know except Allah. So, it’s not for the carriers of the da’wah to think about these outcomes. Rather, they are to go forth with this clear, straightforward, specific manhaj, leaving the outcome of this firmness to Allah – and the outcome will be nothing but good at the end of the process.

And here is the Noble Qur’an warning them that Satan is waiting for these hopes of theirs to use them to turn them away from the essence of the da’wah: {“Never did We send a Messenger or a Prophet before you except that when he recited the Revelation or narrated or spoke, Satan threw some falsehood in it. But, Allah abolishes what Satan throws in. Then, Allah establishes His signs, and Allah is Knowing, Wise, so that He may make what is thrown in by Satan a trial for those in whose hearts is a disease and whose hearts are hardened. And certainly, the wrongdoers are in far opposition.”} [al-Hajj; 52-53]

Since Allah had protected His Prophets and Messengers from falling into error in this regard, there was no way that Satan could take advantage of their natural hopes regarding their da’wah. Those who are not protected by Allah from this trap need to be warned severely of it out of fear that Satan will enter upon them from the door of the desire to aid the da’wah and protect what they refer to as maslahat ad-da’wah.

Indeed, the term ‘maslahat ad-da’wah’ needs to be removed from the dictionaries of those involved in the da’wah, as it is a form of humiliation and subservience and is Satan’s entrance point, as it would be too challenging for him to enter upon them from the door of the interest of specific people! Maslahat ad-da’wah thus becomes an idol that is worshipped instead of Allah by those involved in da’wah, causing them to forget its fundamental manhaj!

Those involved in da’wah must stay firm on its manhaj and single this manhaj out without turning to look at the outcome that will be brought about by this. It might be suggested to them that this might lead to danger for the da’wah and its people! However, the only danger they should be cautious of falling into is the danger of deviating from the manhaj for any reason whatsoever, whether this deviation is big or small. And Allah Knows better than they do of the maslahah, and this is not something they are even tasked with. Rather, they are tasked with one thing, and one thing only: that they not deviate from the manhaj, and that they not steer off the path…”

[‘Fi Dhilal al-Qur’an’; 4/2435]

The Believer Fears No Person!

Posted in Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Taymiyyah, Original & Misc., Sayyid Qutb on January 1, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

Ibn Taymiyyah commented (‘Majmu’ al-Fatawa’; 1/77-78) on the verse: {“It is only Satan that suggests to you the fear of his allies. So, do not fear them, and fear Me if you are believers.”} [Al ‘Imran; 175]:

“So, this verse proves that Satan makes his allies sources of fear, and he causes people to be afraid of them. And the verse shows that it is not permissible for the believer to fear the allies of Satan, and he should not fear people, as it was Said: {“So, do not fear the people, and fear Me…”} [al-Ma’idah; 44] So, we are commanded to fear Allah, and we are prohibited from fearing the allies of Satan. Allah Said: {“…So that men may have no argument against you except those of them that are wrong-doers. So, fear them not, and fear Me!”} [al-Baqarah; 150] So, He prohibited the fear of the wrong-doer, and He commanded us to fear Him.

He also Said: {“Those who convey the message of Allah and fear Him, and fear none except Allah…”} [al-Ahzab; 39] And He Said: {“…and fear Me, alone…”} [an-Nahl; 51]

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“And it was the most amazing phenomenon in the history of mankind…”

Posted in Sayyid Qutb on February 9, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

From the introduction to Sayyid Qutb’s ‘Khasa’is at-Tasawwur al-Islami’:

وكانت أعجب ظاهرة في تاريخ الحياة البشرية: ظاهرة انبثاق أمة من خلال نصوص كتاب! وبه عاشت. وعليه اعتمدت في الدرجة الأولى

“And it was the most amazing phenomenon in the history of mankind: a nation emerging from the texts of a book – living by it, and depending on it as its primary source!”

“And seek help in patience and prayer…” [al-Baqarah; 45]

Posted in Sayyid Qutb on February 9, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

“The weak, short-lived, limited human being must connect himself to the Greater Power, in order that he draw assistance from Him when the strength he requires exceeds that which is in his limited capacity, and when he faces both the open and hidden forces of evil, and when it becomes too difficult for him to remain firm upon the path of repelling his desires and stinginess, and when it becomes too difficult for him to struggle against tyranny and evil when they become violent, and when the road becomes too long, and when the hardships extend throughout his limited lifespan – and he looks to find that he has acheived nothing, while he feels he will be taken away soon; he has given nothing, and the sun of his life is about to set – and when he looks to find that evil is powerful, good is powerless, and there is no glimmer in the sky, and no milestone upon the path.

Here, the value of the prayer is realized.

It is the direct connection between the perishable human being and the Everlasting Power. It is the chosen, appointed time for the meeting between an isolated droplet and the fountain that never ceases gushing forth. It is the key to the treasure that fulfills, satisfies, and is overflowing. It is a transition from the limits of the puny worldly reality to the vast dimension of the universal reality. It is the refreshing breeze and shade in the midst of repressive heat. It is the touch of concern and protection for the exhausted heart. Because of this, the Messenger of Allah, when he was in a situation of hardship, would say: “Relax us with it, O Bilal,” and would increase in his prayer when he was afflicted with an overwhelming affair.

Verily, this Islamic manhaj is one of worship, and worship contains many secrets. From these secrets is that it serves as provision for the journey, a gift for the soul, and a polish for the heart. Wherever there is hardship and burden, there is worship to serve as the key to the heart, to help it taste these burdens and hardships as being sweetened, filtered, and light.”

[‘Fi Dhilal al-Qur’an’; 1/142]

“We shall turn you to a direction that shall please you…” [al-Baqarah; 144]

Posted in Sayyid Qutb on February 9, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

“From every direction, in every corner of the entire Earth: one qiblah to unite this entire Ummah, and to unite it despite its various nationalities, despite the various locations of its members in relation to this qiblah, despite the various races, tongues, and colors…one qiblah, towards which one nation faces, in the East, and the West. So, you feel as if it is one body, one spirit, facing one goal, striving to maintain one manhaj: a manhaj from whose nature emerges the worship of One Deity, and believes in one Messenger, and faces one qiblah.

This is how Allah united this Ummah: He united it in its object of worship, in its Messenger, in its religion, and in its qiblah. He united it, with its various nationalities, races, colors, and spoken languages, and He did not build its unity on a single one of these foundations. Rather, its unity was built on its belief and its qiblah, despite it being divided in regards to its nationalities, races, colors, and languages.

It is the unity that naturally binds the human being, as human beings naturally unites based on the same belief of the heart, and the same qiblah of worship, while animals naturally unite upon the same grass and weeds, within the same fenced boundaries, and in the same barn!”

{“And even if you were to bring to the People of the Book all of the proofs, they would not follow your direction of prayer…”} [al-Baqarah; 145]

“So, they are in a state of stubbornness brought on by their desires, led along by their worldly interests, and limited only by their evil objectives.

Many naive people assume that what prevents the Jews and Christians from accepting Islam is that they simply have not been provided with knowledge of it, or that it has not been presented to them in a convincing fashion, and this is simply a fantasy. They do not want to accept Islam because they know its reality! They know its reality, so, they fear its threat to their worldly interests and power. Therefore, they plot against it all of these neverending plots, of various types, and various methods – some direct, and some indirect. Sometimes, they fight it face-to-face, and sometimes, they fight it from behind a curtain. Sometimes, they fight it themselves, and sometimes, while staying behind the curtain, they find those from amongst its own people who will fight it on their behalf…”

[‘Fi Dhilal al-Qur’an’; 1/134]