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Want to be Amongst the Sabiqoon?

بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

الحمد الله

Everyone knows the ayah in which Allah سبحانه وتعالى talks about the Sabiqoon by heart but not many people know what exactly the word Sabiq (pl. Sabiqoon) means. Most people understand from the English translations it to mean as the one who is foremost in doing good deeds but in reality there’s more to it if one goes through the Tafasir (sing. Tafsir) of the ‘ulamaa of the past.

As soon as we think about the Sabiqoon, we are reminded of Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen Abu Bakr AlSiddiq رضي الله عنه‘s life and how he was always the leader in doing good deeds amongst the Sahabah رضي الله عنهم. Thus I decided to do some in depth study of the word Sabiq by looking through 6-8 different Tafasir.

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says,

وَالسَّابِقُونَ السَّابِقُونَ

And those foremost will be foremost (in Paradise).”[1]

There is a difference of opinion on the meaning of this ayah.

Abu Sawda رحمه الله said, “They are the first ones who go to the Masjid, and they hurry in doing acts in the path of Allah سبحانه وتعالى.” [2]

Muhammad bin Ka`b AlQuradhi (student of Ubayy bin Ka’b رضي الله عنه in Makkah) and Abu Hazrah Ya`qub bin Mujahid رحمهما اللهsaid regarding this ayah that in this ayah Allah سبحانه وتعالى was speaking about the Prophets عليهم سلام.

Whilst As-Suddi رحمه اللهsaid that they are the residents of the utmost highs (Ahl Al-`Illiyyin, in Paradise). The meaning of foremost is that they were foremost in performing the acts of righteousness just as Allah سبحانه وتعالى commanded them,

وَسَارِعُواْ إِلَى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَـوَتُ وَالاٌّرْضُ

“And march forth in the way to forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth.” [3]

and,

سَابِقُواْ إِلَى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا كَعَرْضِ السَّمَآءِ وَالاٌّرْضِ

“Race with one another in hastening towards forgiveness from your Lord, and Paradise the width whereof is as the width of the heaven and the earth.” [4]

Therefore, those who rush to obey Allah in this life and are foremost in performing acts of righteousness will be among the foremost believers honored in the Hereafter. [5]

AlHasan AlBasri and Qatadah رحمهما الله have said, “They are the ones who were the first in Iman from amongst every ummah.”

Muhammad ibn Sirin رحمه الله said, “They are the ones who prayed towards the Qiblatayn (both Qiblahs i.e. Masjid AlAqsa and Ka’bah) his proof being the saying of Allah سبحانه وتعالى,

وَالسَّابِقُونَ الْأَوَّلُونَ مِنْ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنْصَار…

“And the first to embrace Islam of the Muhajirun and the Ansar”[6]

Mujahid bin Jabr رحمه الله and others have said, “They are the foremost in going for Jihad and first of the people of those who go to the Salah.”

‘Ali رضي الله عنه has said, “They are the foremost to the five prayers.”

Sa’id bin Jubayr رحمه الله (student of ‘AbduLlah bin ‘Abbas رضي الله عنه in Madinah) commented on this ayah, “(Hurrying) towards repentance and deeds of righteousness. Allah سبحانه وتعالى says,

وَسَارِعُوا إِلَى مَغْفِرَة مِنْ رَبّكُمْ

“And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for Al-Muttaqun” [7]

Then quoted the ayah,

أُولَئِكَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَات وَهُمْ لَهَا سَابِقُونَ

“It is these who race for the good deeds, and they are foremost in them” [8]

Tarjuman Al Qur`an, ‘AbduLlah bin ‘Abbas رضي الله عنهماsaid, ” They are the four from them was the first amongst the ummah of Musa عليه سلام who was Hizqeel from the family of Pharaoh. The first amongst the ummah of ‘Isa عليه سلام who was Habeeb AlNajjar (the carpenter), the man from Antioch and the two foremost amongst the ummah of Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar رضي الله عنهما. “Narrated AlMawardi رحمه الله

Shumayt bin ‘Ajlaan رحمه الله said, “People are of three types, as for the person who gets up to do good in a youthful age, until Allah سبحانه وتعالى takes him away from this world then he is the one who precede others (Sabiq)…”

It was also said, “They are the ones who precede others in everything of righteousness. [9]

Ibn Kaysaan رحمه الله said, “They are foremost to whatever Allah سبحانه و تعالى has called to.”

Ka’b رحمه الله said, “They are the people of Qur`an who will be crowned on the Day of Resurrection.” [10]

In conclusion, even though there are different meanings given by different ‘ulamaa’ of the Salaf we should not be confused as to which is the right meaning rather we should try to implement all of the meanings on ourselves which are possible. Because there are certain meanings such as those people of Salaf who said that in the afore mentioned ayah, Allah سبحانه وتعالى was talking about Prophets عليهم سلام or the Sahabah رضي الله عنهم and indeed Allah سبحانه وتعالى knows best.
References:

[1] Qur’an AlKareem {56:10}

[2]Tafsir AlTabari

[3] Qur`an AlKareem {3:133}

[4] Qur`an AlKareem {57:21}

[5]Tafsir Ibn Kathir

[6] Qur`an AlKareem {9:100}

[7] Qur`an AlKareem {3:133}

[8] Qur`an AlKareem {23:61}

[9]Tafsir AlQurtubi

[10]Tafsir AlBaghawi

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Enter you therein in peace and security; this is a Day of eternal life!

بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

الحمد الله

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

If people are asked the question, “What is your goal in this life?” Some will say that theirs is to get a good degree so they could get married. Others will say that they want to earn enough money so that they could live peacefully until death. However, the correct answer to this question is to gain the Pleasure of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and thus they could be rewarded with Jannat Al Firdous. In Surat AlQaaf Allah سبحانه وتعالى tells us how to have Him pleased with us on the Day of Judgement.

When Allah سبحانه وتعالى will bring the Muttaqeen near the Jannah it will be said to them,

هَـٰذَا مَا تُوعَدُونَ

“This is what you were promised…”

Jannah is what Allah عز و جل promised to the Muttaqeen as recompense of what they would do in this dunya and indeed Allah سبحانه وتعالى never breaks His Promise [1]

Then when we go through the verse further, Allah سبحانه وتعالى elaborates on the characteristics of Muttaqeen and they are,

لِكُلِّ أَوَّابٍ حَفِيظٍ

“… (it is) for those oft-returning in sincere repentance, and those who preserve their covenant with Allah”

There is a difference of opinion amongst the interpreters of the Qur`an regarding the meaning of the word أَوَّاب [2]The Tarjumaan Al Qur`an, ‘AbduLlah ibn ‘Abbas رضي الله عنهما and his famous student ‘Ata bin Rabi‘ah رحمه الله described أَوَّاب as the one who does Tasbeeh as Allah سبحانه وتعالى says,

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ مِنَّا فَضْلًا ۖ يَا جِبَالُ أَوِّبِي مَعَهُ وَالطَّيْرَ ۖ وَأَلَنَّا لَهُ الْحَدِيدَ

“And indeed We bestowed grace on David from Us (saying): “O you mountains. Glorify (Allah) with him! And you birds (also)! And We made the iron soft for him.’” [3]

Whereas, ‘AbduLlah bin Mas‘ud رضي الله عنه and the great Mufassir Mujahid bin Jabr رحمه الله [also the student of ‘AbduLlah ibn ‘Abbas رضي الله عنهما] said, “He is who remembers his sins in private and Allah سبحانه وتعالى forgives him.”

Abu Bakr Al Warraaq رحمه الله said, “He is the one who has Tawakkul in Allah سبحانه وتعالى in times of difficulty and ease.”

And finally, Al Qaasim رحمه الله said, “He is the one who is involved with no one but Allah سبحانه وتعالى.” Meaning involved in the ‘Ibaadah and Dhikr of Allah سبحانه وتعالى. [4]

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه that RasuluLlah صلى الله عليه و سلم said, “Whoever guards four units of Prayer (Raka‘aat) in the beginning portion of the day has been Awwabun Hafeedha.”

‘AbduLlah ibn Abbas رضي الله عنهما has said concerning حَفِيظٍ, “He is the one who saves himself from sins.” He has also been reported to have said, “He is the one who guards the commandments of Allah سبحانه وتعالى” (meaning the one who fulfils the commandments of Allah سبحانه وتعالى)

Mujahid bin Jabr رحمه الله said, “He is the protector of the rights of Allah سبحانه وتعالى (upon him) by recognising them and of the blessings by being thankful for them.” [5]

AlHaafidh Ibn Kathir رحمه الله writes in his Tafsir, “They are the ones who preserve their Covenant with Allah سبحانه وتعالى and neither break or it or betray it.” [6]

Then Allah سبحانه وتعالى continues,

مَّنْ خَشِيَ الرَّحْمَـٰنَ بِالْغَيْبِ

“Who feared the Most Beneficent in the Ghayb (unseen)…”

The word khashya is the fear associated with intimate knowledge of the Creator and it is as Allah سبحانه وتعالى says,

إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ

“…It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah….” [7] [8]

Allah سبحانه وتعالى coupling fear (Khashya) with scholars (‘ulamaa’) shows that the word Khashya is specifically for those people who have knowledge.

So he is the one who feared Allah سبحانه وتعالى in secret when only Allah the Exalted and Most Honoured could see him. [9] Like RasuluLlah صلى الله عليه و سلم said:

“There are seven whom Allah سبحانه وتعالى will shade in His Shade on the Day when there is no shade except His Shade: a just ruler; a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah سبحانه وتعالى, the Mighty and Majestic; a man whose heart is attached to the mosques; two men who love each other for Allah سبحانه وتعالى’s sake, meeting for that and parting upon that; a man who is called by a woman of beauty and position [for illegal intercourse], but be says: ‘I fear Allah’, a man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity; and a man who remembered Allaah in private and so his eyes shed tears.’” [10]

The Muttaqeen are the ones who feared Allah سبحانه وتعالى in private and

وَجَاءَ بِقَلْبٍ مُّنِيبٍ

“…and brought a heart turned in repentance”

The word مُنِيب is derived from نُوب which means to go back or to revert.

On the Day of Judgement, he (the Muttaqi) will come with a heart that has repented from the sins and has returned from what Allah سبحانه وتعالى dislikes to what He is pleased with. [11] And that is truly reverting back to acts that are loved by Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

قَلْبٍ مُّنِيبٍ is also the heart that accepts the commands of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and this also used for the Muttaqeen [12]

It is also mentioned that it is likely that قَلْبٍ مُّنِيبٍ is also قَلْبٍ سَلِيم which means a heart that lacks and is empty of doubt and shirk (polytheism) thus is the heart of a Mu’min (believer). [13]

Then Allah سبحانه وتعالى says, “

ادْخُلُوهَا بِسَلَامٍ ۖ

“‘Enter you therein in peace and security…’”

Allah سبحانه وتعالى will then tell the Muttaqeen to enter Jannah with security and safety from His punishment (Jahannam {Hell}) and this is narrated from Qatadah رحمه الله [13]

ذَ‌ٰلِكَ يَوْمُ الْخُلُودِ

“‘…this is a Day of eternal life!’”

This means that they will reside in Paradise forever and will never die, neither be transferred from it nor wish to be transferred from it. [14]

Just imagine that on the Day of Judgement Allah سبحانه وتعالى says that to you! Wouldn’t that be the best moment you’ve ever witnessed? The moment when a slave feels happy and pleased that his Creator and Owner is satisfied with him and all his deeds have not gone to waste. As Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in Surat AlInsan,

إِنَّ هَـٰذَا كَانَ لَكُمْ جَزَاءً وَكَانَ سَعْيُكُم مَّشْكُورًا

“(And it will be said to them): ‘Verily, this is a reward for you, and your endeavour has been accepted.’” (Ayah 22)

Allah سبحانه وتعالى will reward us greatly with Jannah for the small amount of good deeds we have done. [15]

This, indeed, should be our goal that we do the good deeds with which Allah سبحانه وتعالى becomes pleased and rewards us with Jannah.

And finally, Allah سبحانه وتعالى says,

لَهُم مَّا يَشَاءُونَ فِيهَا

“There they will have all that they desire…”

The people of Jannah will get everything they desire and everything that is pleasing to their eyes [16]

­ وَلَدَيْنَا مَزِيدٌ

“…and We have more

And this is extra is the viewing of the Face of Allah سبحانه وتعالى by the Mu’mineen (believers) [17]

Ibn AlQayyim ALJawziyyah رحمه الله said, “ the caller will call: ‘O People of Paradise! Your Lord – Blessed and Exalted – requests you to visit Him, so come to visit Him!’ So they will say: ‘We hear and obey!’

Until, when they finally reach the wide valley where they will all meet – and none of them will turn down the request of the caller – the Lord – Blessed and Exalted – will order His Chair to be brought there. Then, pulpits of light will emerge, as well as pulpits of pearls, gemstone, gold, and silver. The lowest of them in rank will sit on sheets of musk, and will not see what those who are on the chairs above them are given. When they are comfortable where they are sitting and are secure in their places, and the caller calls: ‘O People of Paradise! You have an appointment with Allaah in which He wishes to reward you!’ So they will say: ‘And what is that reward? Has He not already made our faces bright, made our scales heavy, entered us into Paradise, and pushed us away from the Fire?’

And when they are like that, all of a sudden a light shines that encompasses all of Paradise. So, they raise their heads, and, behold: the Compeller – Exalted is He, and Holy are His Names – has come to them from above them and majestified them and said: ‘O People of Paradise! Peace be upon you!’ So, this greeting will not be responded to with anything better than: ‘O Allaah! You are Peace, and from You is Peace! Blessed are You, O possessor of Majesty and Honour!’ So the Lord – Blessed and Exalted – will laugh to them and say: ‘O People of Paradise! Where are those who used to obey Me without having ever seen Me? This is the Day of Increase!’

So, they will all give the same response: ‘We are pleased, so be pleased with us!’ So, He will say: ‘O People of Paradise! If I were not pleased with you, I would not have made you inhabitants of My Paradise! So, ask of Me!’ So, they will all give the same response: ‘Show us your Face so that we may look at it!’ So, the Lord – Mighty and Majestic – will remove his covering and will majestify them and will cover them with His Light, which, if Allaah – the Exalted – had not Willed not to burn them, would have burned them.

And there will not remain a single person in this gathering except that his Lord – the Exalted – will speak to him and say: ‘Do you remember the day that you did this and that?’ and He will remind him of some of his bad deeds in the Worldly life, so he will say: ‘O Lord! Will you not forgive me?’ So, He will say: ‘Of course! You have not reached this position of yours (in Paradise) except by my forgiveness.’

So, how sweet is this speech to the ears, and how cooled are the righteous eyes by the glance at His Noble Face in the Afterlife…

“Some faces that Day will be shining and radiant, looking at their Lord…” [18] [19]

In conclusion, in order to achieve the pleasure of Allah سبحانه و تعالى we need to become from amongst the Muttaqeen and to become Muttaqeen we need to have the traits that are mentioned in ayaat above. And when we would have them, we would achieve our ultimate goal which is to please Allah سبحانه و تعالى. May Allah سبحانه و تعالى be pleased with us as He will be with Muttaqeen. May Allah سبحانه و تعالى forgive all my mistakes during the compilation of the various Tafasir and their translations and save people from being misguided after reading them. Allahumma Ameen.

References

[1]Tafseer Al Qurtubi

[2] Tafseer Al Tabari

[3] Qur`an AlKareem {34:10}

[4]Tafseer AlQurtubi

[5]Tafseer AlQurtubi

[6]Tafseer Ibn Kathir

[7] Qur`an AlKareem {35:28}

[8] Madaarij as-Salikeen

[9] Tafsir Ibn Kathir

[10] Sahihayn (Sahih AlBukhari & Sahih Muslim)

[11] Tafseer Al Tabari

[12] Tafseer AlJalalayn

[13]Tafseer AlQurtubi

[14] Tafsir Ibn Kathir

[15] Tafsir Ibn Kathir

[16] Tafasir AlTabari, AlQurtubi and Ibn Kathir

[17] Tafasir AlTabari, AlQurtubi and Ibn Kathir

[18] Qur`an AlKareem {75:22-3}

[19] AlJaheem Wa AlNa‘eem

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