Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ibn Kathir on Ayah 4:64 and Tawassul through our Nabi



وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذ ظَّلَمُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ جَآءُوكَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُواْ اللَّهَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ الرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُواْ اللَّهَ تَوَّاباً رَّحِيماً

[4:64]



Before discussing the Imam's tafsir of the Ayah cited above let us remind ourselves what Imam Ibn Kathir says in al Bidaya wal Nihaya (7/106) regarding the following authentic hadith:


وقال الحافظ أبو بكر البيهقي: أخبرنا أبو نصر بن قتادة، وأبو بكر الفارسي قالا: حدثنا أبو عمر بن مطر، حدثنا إبراهيم بن علي الذهلي، حدثنا يحيى بن يحيى، حدثنا أبو معاوية، عن الأعمش، عن أبي صالح، عن مالك قال: أصاب الناس قحط في زمن عمر بن الخطاب، فجاء رجل إلى قبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم.
فقال: يا رسول الله استسق الله لأمتك فإنهم قد هلكوا.
فأتاه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في المنام فقال: إيت عمر، فأقرئه مني السلام، وأخبرهم أنه مسقون، وقل له عليك بالكيس الكيس.
فأتى الرجل فأخبر عمر، فقال: يا رب ما آلوا إلا ما عجزت عنه.وهذا إسناد صحيح.

al-Bayhaqi relates.......:

It is related from Malik al-Dar, `Umar's treasurer, that the people suffered a drought during the successorship of `Umar, whereupon a man came to the grave of the Prophet and said: "O Messenger of Allah, ask for rain for your Community, for verily they have but perished," after which the Prophet appeared to him in a dream and told him: "Go to `Umar and give him my greeting, then tell him that they will be watered. Tell him: You must be clever, you must be clever!" The man went and told `Umar. The latter said: "O my Lord, I spare no effort except in what escapes my power!"


Ibn Kathir cites it thus from Bayhaqi in al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya and says: isnaduhu sahih.

Ibn Kathir in his recently published: Jami al-Masanid (1/223) - Musnad Umar - declared it as: "Isnaduhu Jayyid Qawi: ITS CHAIN OF TRANSMISSION IS GOOD AND STRONG"

Let the Salafiyya take note - that this is the ruling of ibn Kathir in 2 places.

[quotes from sidi Abul Hasan]



Did Ibn Kathir RH claim the action in this Sahih Hadith was tantamount to Shirk or a means to Shirk as some contemporary Salafis dare?



On to the subject of this thread - Ayah 4:64:



وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذ ظَّلَمُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ جَآءُوكَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُواْ اللَّهَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ الرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُواْ اللَّهَ تَوَّاباً رَّحِيماً




"...If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful"



Imam Ibn Kathir cites a famous "story" regarding this ayah in his glorious TAFSIR [which surprisingly you will not find in the "abridged" Darus-Salam translation!!]:


وَقَدْ ذَكَرَ جَمَاعَة مِنْهُمْ الشَّيْخ أَبُو مَنْصُور الصَّبَّاغ فِي كِتَابه الشَّامِل الْحِكَايَة الْمَشْهُورَة عَنْ الْعُتْبِيّ قَالَ :
كُنْت جَالِسًا عِنْد قَبْر النَّبِيّ صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَجَاءَ أَعْرَابِيّ فَقَالَ : السَّلَام عَلَيْك يَا رَسُول اللَّه سَمِعْت اللَّه يَقُول " وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذْ ظَلَمُوا أَنْفُسهمْ جَاءُوك فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا اللَّه وَاسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمْ الرَّسُول لَوَجَدُوا اللَّه تَوَّابًا رَحِيمًا " وَقَدْ جِئْتُك مُسْتَغْفِرًا لِذَنْبِي مُسْتَشْفِعًا بِك إِلَى رَبِّي ثُمَّ أَنْشَأَ يَقُول : يَا خَيْر مَنْ دُفِنَتْ بِالْقَاعِ أَعْظُمه فَطَابَ مِنْ طِيبهنَّ الْقَاع وَالْأَكَم نَفْسِي الْفِدَاء لِقَبْرٍ أَنْتَ سَاكِنه فِيهِ الْعَفَاف وَفِيهِ الْجُود وَالْكَرَم ثُمَّ اِنْصَرَفَ الْأَعْرَابِيّ فَغَلَبَتْنِي عَيْنِي فَرَأَيْت النَّبِيّ صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَآله وَسَلَّمَ فِي النَّوْم فَقَالَ : يَا عُتْبِيّ الْحَقْ الْأَعْرَابِيّ فَبَشِّرْهُ أَنَّ اللَّه قَدْ غَفَرَ لَهُ


"And a group from amongst them including Shaikh Abu Nasrin Al-Sabbagh in his book Ash-Shamil, have mentioned the famous (Mashhur) story of/from al-Utbi' who said:

"As I was sitting by the grave of the Prophet, a Bedouin Arab came and said: "Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah! I have heard Allah saying: "If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful" (4:64), so I have come to you asking forgiveness for my sin, seeking your intercession with my Lord." Then he began to recite poetry:

O best of those whose bones are buried in the deep earth,

And from whose fragrance the depth

and the height have become sweet,

May I be the ransom for a grave which thou inhabit,

And in which are found purity, bounty and munificence!

Then he left, and I dozed and saw the Prophet in my sleep. He said to me: "O `Utbi, run after the Beduin and give him glad tidings that Allah has forgiven him.""




Take Note: The above Mashur [famous] story has been related by many Ulema, including Imam Nawawi in his al-Adhkar, Ibn Qudamah RH and many others.


I am not citing this report of Utbi as a proof for Tawassul..... so you can argue about its matn or isnad or whatever as much as you like but you will be missing the point!

What one should ask themselves is this: why would Ibn Kathir [RH] cite this story in his Tafsir of the Ayah 4:64 if there was even an ounce of danger of the practice being shirk or even leading to shirk?
It is clear that what is found in this famous story is not shirk according to Ibn Kathir.... no where near it!

And you can see a similar report cited by Imam al-Qurtubi in his Tafsir which I can provide if needed.


The proof for the action cited in these stories? See the Hadith of Malik al-Dar posted above which was explicitly declared Sahih by Ibn Kathir RH in two places.

wa Allahu Alam.

2 Comments:

Blogger Ninamagic said...

Allahu Akbar

12:09 am  
Blogger C - K - M said...

Bismillah.
As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh . . .

May Allah bless you for this post. This is actually one of the major "discoveries" that I made in 1999 in my last year at the Islamic University of Madinah. I read the tafsir of this verse in both Ibn Kathir and al-Qurtubi. I felt betrayed and shocked.

Here is a *little* more of what happened to me during that final year there (and thereafter):

http://www.reflectonthis.com/blog/2007/06/imam_alghazali_.html

http://www.reflectonthis.com/blog/2005/11/before_his_deat.html

As for the translation of one part:

"Go to `Umar and give him my greeting, then tell him that they will be watered. Tell him: You must be clever, you must be clever!"

I think it should be translated as:

"Go to Umar and give him my greeting, then tell him that they will be given water. Also inform him to chose the clever one, the clever one!" (referring to his uncle al-'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him)).

And Allah knows best...

Sincerely your brother and servant,
khalil abu asmaa

7:15 pm  

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